Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse)Berlin Film Festival 2017
Most of us spend our 20s trying to find ourselves and looking for a purpose. Those who are lucky enough to find both can enjoy a happy 30s before they lose sight of everything and have to do it all over again during their midlife crisis. Josef Hader’s latest comedy, Wilde Maus, follows Georg (Hader), a middle-aged music critic who is sacked, and traces his trajectory into full-blown midlife crisis.
Hader is used to having his name in lights as a legend of the comedy and cabaret scene in Austria. He made himself famous by lambasting the stifling, bourgeois culture of Vienna and he brings that same humour to Wilde Maus. His main character exacts revenge on his boss by keying his Ferrari and cutting holes in his roof. However, it is difficult to connect with Georg as his self-imposed “suffering” makes him as banal and bourgeois as the people he is blowing raspberries at.
This is reinforced when Hader introduces Ehrich (Georg Friedrich), a former schoolmate that Georg reconnects with. The contempt and condescension for this “working-class” character is obvious in the protagonist’s superior wit and intellect. Georg’s wife Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) offers little respite from Hader’s antics. She works as a failing therapist and all she wants in life is to have a baby, but her husband refuses to think about anyone but himself.
There are some strong visual touches that elevate this routine into more than a mere sitcom. Georg regains a sense of purpose in attempting to renovate the rollercoaster in Vienna’s infamous theme park, Prater Garten. The rollercoaster becomes a nice but obvious symbol for a man trying to regain former glory. Quaint cinematography aside, there is very little to distract the viewer from seeing this as a flagrant vehicle for the Austrian comedian.
This is the third year running that the German-language submissions for the competitions have been sub-par, to put it lightly. The audience is urged to empathise with Georg but the simpering man-child schtick is out of fashion and the protagonist comes off as sycophantic instead. The midlife crisis is a quarry that has been well-mined by more qualified filmmakers and despite Hader’s charm this twee character study is merely another one added to the stock-pile.
Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the 67th Berlin Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch the trailer for Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) here: