Following in the German footsteps of 1999 festival favourite Run Lola Run, Hendrik Hölzemann's Off Beat (Kammerflimmern) is an intense, fast-paced film that is accented by some very creative camera work. The film follows Crash (Matthias Schweighöfer), a workaholic paramedic too concerned with his past to move forward with his life. Obsessed with the car accident that killed his parents and an experimental operation that physically and emotionally scarred him as a child, he refuses to concentrate on anything but his work saving hapless human beings (hence the German film title, which translates as "defibrillator"). Through continuous flashbacks of the accident and post-op trauma, Crash is portrayed as a wounded seal stuck in a cul-de-sac. Only a dream of a mysterious woman bares any hope, however, unlike the others, that one dream is indistinguishable (until the very ending). Upon reaching an emergency call he discovers the identity of his dream woman, the pregnant November (Jessica Schwarz), who loses her boyfriend in the scene to a drug overdose. Crash immediately realises the opportunity he has to find happiness in love and he and November make a romantic connection. This starry-eyed resolution isn't tiresome, even though love tends to always be the answer. However, even the biggest curmudgeon couldn't deny the sex scene between the two lead characters is satisfyingly one of the most adorable ever transferred to celluloid. And yet, as uplifting as this sounds, Hölzemann doesn't let his characters off that easy. Crash is faced with crushing failed attempts to save two of his previous patients, an elderly beggar and a depressed teenager, whose critical situation leaves you on the edge of your seat. Stylistically, Off Beat is a flashy piece of cinema that thrives on shifting paces, playing with time differences and using eloquent tricks (Crash's unsuccessful skateboard trip towards the light) to make this as visceral an experience as possible. (Bavaria)