Not an easy film to love
by Nav Qateel
Having a background in design, I thrive on films that look as good as Bela Kiss: Prologue, and also being a huge fan of Zack Snyder’s work, I think I witnessed a film that was paying tribute to his style, with all the slo-mo, lens-flare and heavy stylised touches that Mr Snyder greatly favors.
I’m sure there are others in there but his was by far the most obvious.
Bela Kiss was a Hungarian serial killer, active about 1900, who is thought to have murdered around 24 woman; drained them of their blood, then pickled them in large gasoline drums filled with alcohol. He was into the occult and was never caught. With the help of his housekeeper (who denied any knowledge), he enticed woman to his farmhouse, where they were never heard from again. There’s actually a photo of him on Wikipedia, but he’s certainly no Rudolph Martin. Bela Kiss: Prologue is about what became of the killer.
A couple of things let this film down, one of which was the narrative and the other the pacing. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with the script being transcribed from German to English, although, there were a couple of things that didn’t sound right. The story tells of five of the unlikeliest bank robbers you have ever seen; on the run from the police. They end up in an out-of-the-way hotel that just so happens to be the domicile of a serial killer (well, they gotta live somewhere, right?). Why they rob a bank is anyones guess as they all looked rather well-to-do and certainly didn’t act like criminals or anyone in desperate need of anything at all, and each of them appeared rather refined too.
Apart from plot-holes you could drive a London bus through, this film looked stunning, with some nice cinematography from first-time feature lenser, Sven Latzke, with a decent soundtrack from Tim Nowack. The acting was also very good by each of the cast with Kristina Klebe giving a solid performance as Julia. Fabian Stumm as Nikolai was good and was almost a dead ringer for Milo Ventimiglia, from the TV show, Heroes.
First-time director, Lucien Förstner, hasn’t done too bad a job with, Bela Kiss: Prologue, but this would have been a better film by far if some more thought had gone into the writing to prevent the glaring holes in the narrative. The way the story was left to unfold was a bit scrappy in places, which didn’t help with the pacing. A lot of people might be put off with the unhurried way the story reveals itself and if you aren’t into symbolism or visual films like the brilliant Sucker Punch, then this one won’t be for you. I liked it precisely because of those things.