Hinterland – London Film Festival 2021 Movie Review

London Film Festival Movie Review: Hinterland

Hinterland is a creepy, dark psychological thriller, following Peter Perg, an Austrian soldier returning home to Vienna after time in a Russian POW camp, who is forced to help track down a serial killer plaguing the city.

Perg, a former famed detective is thrown back in society, clearly not having dealt with his trauma of the war, as well as his estranged wife and daughter. As Perg’s world collapses around him, his mental state is captured in the distorted, murky and expressionistic-style CGI backdrops that evoke a surreal nightmare, with walls slanted, towers leaning over and everything closing in. The heavy blue-screen style recalls Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow and Sin City, while the twisted architecture references the classic German silent horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

The thriller plays out with familiar film-noir style murder mystery beats, but the characters speak more loudly to the historical context of 1920s Austria and Europe. We have former Counts arguing with so-called Communists, alongside nods to the economic and political future of the country, including Nazism. All in all, Murathan Muslu’s Perg is the star attraction here, a grizzled, beaten and lost soldier, desperately trying to piece his life back together, saying very little but expressing a lot. His interactions with forensics specialist Dr. Theresa Körner Korner (Liv Lisa Fries) showcase their respective talents, both victims of a horrific past.

An interesting take on a well-trodden genre, Hinterland is worth seeing alone for its fantastically unique visuals, compelling lead and intriguing historical backdrop.

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