The Collini Case
Elyas M’Barek stars as fresh-faced defence attorney Caspar Leinen in Marco Kreuzpaintner’s The Collini Case, an adaptation of the novel of the same name. His first big case is to defend one Fabrizio Collini (Franco Nero) of murdering wealthy businessman Hans Meyer (Manfred Zapatka) in cold blood in his hotel room. The case seems cut-and-dried, but the accused’s unwillingness to divulge any information regarding a motive sends Leinen on his own investigation that leads to dark secrets from the past. Further complicating matters is the fact that the victim was the grandfather of Leinen’s childhood sweetheart Johanna (Alexandra Maria Lara) and a father figure and mentor to the young lawyer.
Leinen has placed himself in a precarious position that could greatly impact his professional and personal life, and the early portion of The Colini Case explores the ethical questions of defending a killer of somebody he loved. A selection of flashbacks informs viewers about the lawyer’s relationships with the victim and Johanna, as well as a tragedy that befell them one summer. The central cast deliver solid performances that articulate the dramatic stakes hanging in the balance, with M’Barek carrying much of the weight on his own shoulders with ease.
Too much of the script at this part, however, transpires to be little more than extraneous padding. Though scenes exploring Meyer in his earlier life are paramount to the plot, inserts of Leinen training to box (a clumsy metaphor in itself) and other scenes pertaining to childhood events are not. Consequently, sitting through the first half is a needlessly sluggish affair.
It’s only towards the final third that the courtroom aspect comes into its own and the script can finally dig into the meaty substance of its source material. The revelations uncovered elevate the personal drama to another level that draws upon a real-life scandal. But these plot points are thrown at viewers so thick and fast that there’s barely any time given for thought or reflection on their significance.
The Collini Case is a film of two parts: the unfolding investigation and the dramatic implications it has. The issue is the script spends too much time focusing on the latter, meaning that the former doesn’t have the desired impact.
The Collini Case is released in select cinemas on 10th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Collini Case here: