Stopped on Track

Directed by Andreas Dresen

> > Nov 13 2012

Stopped on Track - Directed by Andreas Dresen
By Robert BellThough similar in concept to Michael Haneke's devastatingly honest mortality drama, Amour, Andreas Dresen's vivid depiction of the degenerating effects of a brain tumour in Stopped on Track is less epic and pointed in scope and intent, having more of an insular interest in depicting a gritty, oft-ignored, reality cinematically than making a statement about cinema and culture itself. Much like his controversial, though thematically tame, senior citizen sex-fest, Cloud 9, merely presents an unglamorous aspect of reality with as much honesty and detail as possible, without forcing any unnecessary histrionics.

Although, in presenting the quotidian reality of a man diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the drama presents naturally. After Frank (Milan Peschel) learns of his condition, his immediate reaction is one of inner-confusion, which is represented by his at-home experiential video diaries. He goes about his daily routine, taking an understandable break from work, but is unable to interpret his reality, leading to various guidance sessions with various professionals, all of whom make various broad claims about coping with mortality and accepting death.

But as Frank starts to understand and accept his future, his personality and physical aptitude starts to diminish. At first it's subtle, with him unable to put together a bed for his son or control his temper, but eventually his reality starts to shift and finds himself unable to focus on any given task or focus on basic motor skills, which is particularly difficult on his emotionally-frazzled wife Simone (Steffi Kühnert).

In handling this deterioration, Dresen smartly removes any overtly melodramatic scenarios, instead focusing on Frank's gradual changes in behaviour and juxtaposing it with his family's gradual unravelling. Unable to cope with their patriarch's inevitable downward trajectory, their external emotional performance represents the internal battle Frank battles in coping with death.

If there is a fault in Andreas Dresen's exceedingly realistic and challenging drama, it's that the preoccupation with capturing the horrors of mortal illness tends to overshadow the banality in between the big moments. Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to witness Frank's occasional moments of lucidity or daily experiences that don't pivot specifically on drama or character development, which indirectly contradicts the proposed template of documentation.

Still, this unflinching look at the unsavoury nature of forced annihilation anxiety has the smarts not to satisfy audience needs with glib fatalistic statements or compact resolutions about what should be universally important in life.

Stopped on Track screens at the Royal Cinema on Thursday, November 15th at 8:30pm.
(Pandora Film)
GET IT!
Mailing List
SHARE IT!
Google+
Google Bookmarks
StumbleUpon
Reddit
Tumblr
Be the first to comment
Login
Keep me logged in
Prove You Are Not a Robot
To remove this step go back and login.

Picks

Most Popular Stories

  1. Arcade Fire / Dan Deacon / Spoon / Fraka - Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 30CONCERT REVIEWS: Arcade Fire / Dan Deacon / Spoon / Fraka Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 30
  2. Robert Plant - 'lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar' (album stream)MUSIC / VIDEO: Robert Plant 'lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar' (album stream)
  3. Riff Raff - MUSIC / VIDEO: Riff Raff "Rookies of the Future" (ft. Action Bronson)

Latest Issue: Sep 14 Issue