MVFF: Storm (B+)

I guess you’d call Storm a German international war-crimes prosecution thriller. Kerry Fox is superb as Hanna, an extremely confident prosecutor trying to land a conviction of a former Yugoslavian National Army commander. She’s got interference coming from all directions including trouble with her boss and co-workers, problems with witnesses and issues with the court in the Hague.

The rest of the cast was also good. I particularly liked Rolf Lassgård who played Jonas, Hanna’s ambassador boyfriend. (He was also terrific in a great 2006 Danish/Swedish film, After the Wedding.)

Storm is a high-production value film (ie, healthy budget), but has way too much hand-held camera work. C’mon, guys. Either shoot the whole film hand-held or use the technique for effect. But what’s the point of filing 75% in that style? (Maybe it was less than 75%, but it became annoying.) There were good dolly and locked-down shots, too, and the lighting was fine, so I really don’t get what they were trying to do.

Unfortunately, there were some projection and audio problems at the usually excellent 700-seat Corte Madera Cinema, and they were very distracting as well. I think this was shot in good-quality digital video but the projection was dark, and the majority of the audio was coming from the right side-of-house speakers. That’s a problem with film festivals: There’s so little time to set things up and check them. Oh, and there were people carrying on conversations on both sides of us tonight. Who knows how I might have rated this film if I’d been able to see and hear the whole damn thing.

Storm is a 2009 German film, but it’s mostly in English with a few subtitled scenes in other languages. It won the Amnesty International Film Prize (and others) at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

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