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TAKING IT BACK

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by Andreas Schmied

grade: 6

The working-class struggle, the need to ‘grow up’, but also – and above all – love torments are the absolute protagonists in Taking it Back. Andreas Schmied, who has always had a great aptitude for entertaining comedies, has attempted a mix of social discourse and sentimental aspects, paying more attention to the latter.

Rights and duties

The life of Patrick Angerer (played by Michael Ostrowski) would seem almost perfect: a job in a factory, many good friends and a great passion for football, which he devotes himself to almost every day after work. Yet, things are not always so easy, and although certain issues do not seem to interest him, the man soon realises that it is time to take action in order to change certain situations. He, therefore, is the protagonist of the feature film Taking it back, made in 2013, the debut film of director Andreas Schmied.

Patrick is basically a childish man who has never wanted to take responsibility. When some of his colleagues go on strike because of too low wages in the factory where they work, he remains almost indifferent to it. Yet, everything will change when Babs (Hilde Dalik), his ex-girlfriend, arrives from Vienna and, as a lawyer, will have to take up the cause of his colleagues. Will Patrick ever be able to win back his old love?

The working-class struggle, the need to ‘grow up’, but also – and above all – love torments are, therefore, the absolute protagonists in Taking it Back. Andreas Schmied, for his part, who has always had a great aptitude for entertaining comedies (just think of Love Machine, made in 2019, and Love Machine 2, to be released in 2022, to give a few examples), has attempted a mix of social discourse and sentimental aspects, paying greater attention to the latter – and, specifically, to Patrick, with his difficulty in relating to the world around him.

Taking it back is undoubtedly an enjoyable feature film, in which amusing gags and secondary characters (including Babs’ boyfriend and the protagonist’s couple of friends – soon to become parents) enrich the whole, helping to balance an overall well-written script. Yet, despite a generally good outcome, Taking it Back inevitably lacks the necessary insight into the very reason for the workers’ strike. In fact, if we think of numerous other feature films or series that have staged such a topic, while maintaining a light tone and at the same time developing a main plot centred on the vicissitudes of the individual protagonists (it is impossible not to think of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s masterpiece Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, made in 1972), we can notice that Andreas Schmied’s feature film lacks something.

Undoubtedly the troubled relationship between Patrick and Babs is exciting. Undoubtedly from the very first minutes we are all impatiently awaiting a happy ending. Yet the course of events all too often takes predictable and ordinary turns, unfortunately causing the entire feature film to lose its personality. That’s a pity. With his Taking it Back Andreas Schmied has nevertheless attempted to make an important work in many respects. In 2013, however, the success of Chasing the Line still seemed distant.

Original title: Die Werkstürmer
Directed by: Andreas Schmied
Country/year: Austria / 2013
Running time: 94’
Genre: comedy, romance
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Hilde Dalik, Oliver Rosskopf, Holger Schober, Manuel Rubey, Carola Pojer, Daniel Keberle, Peter Strauß, Karin Kienzer, Simon Hatzl, Harry Lampl, Philipp Rudig, Karl Fischer, Susi Stach, Julia Jelinek, Marion Mitterhammer, Alexandra Schmidt, Sigrid Sattler, Werner Brix, Michael Welz
Screenplay: Andreas Schmied
Cinematography: Petra Korner
Produced by: Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Taking it back on iMDb; the page of Taking it back on the website of the Österreichisches Filminstitut