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En Route

Unterwegs

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In this intelligent, dark debut, a manipulative, slightly sinister but charming young man falls in with a young mother and daughter and her boyfriend on a camping holiday and leads them astray. A charming young man falls in with a young mother and daughter and her boyfriend while they are on a camping holiday. Gradually he becomes their friend, insinuating his way subtly between them, playfully competitive with the boyfriend, flirting with the mother. Since they are a little indecisive he persuades them to take his advice, hit the road and head for the sea across the Polish border. Working intelligently to create a slightly sinister atmosphere, in spite of the sense of a holiday summer, director Jan Krüger gives this interloper a sense of mystery: they drop by to stay over night with an older woman. Is she his mother, what is going on? The young man's acquaintances come and go, he becomes closer to the mother who gradually is distancing herself from her boyfriend. They have hasty sex in the woods. Maintaining a constant sense of uncertainty and slight threat, the film evokes a little the way a Haneke can imbue the everyday with a sense of unease and it brings to mind too, perhaps given the Polish connection, Polanski's famous early 'triangle' feature Knife in the Water, in which a mysterious, handsome young man intrudes to upset the relationship between an older man and his girl-friend. In Unterwegs, the final consequences are not so drastic, are more everyday, but nevertheless the mood is subtly developed to create a road movie in an unusual key.