Was the AIDS virus created during an experiment gone awry at the Pentagon top security genetic laboratory? Stefan, an East German medical student whose father was a high-ranking AIDS scientist in the former GDR, is determined to find out.
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for sexual content, drug use, language and images of violence
Let me start by saying something nice: Tom Wlaschiha, the film’s lead, valiantly held his own in this muddled bit of tripe. Wlaschiha was not just up against the fact that he was having to perform in English, which is not his native language, but some of the worst writing, directing, editing and acting from the supporting cast (actually, calling them supporting is a contradiction of terms!) that the film industry has ever put in the can.
The list of what’s wrong with the film is actually much too long to analyze completely here, but it’s starts with the lame attempt to force a modern-day, urban story into an opera plot – how many times will film makers try this, before they realize that it’s silly at best? Trying to link Puccini’s Turandot with a murderous cover-up conspiracy of the theory that the US government was doing testing with the HIV virus that had been found in sheep on prison inmates is akin to linking Queen’s song “We are the Champions” to the Watergate cover-up…in other words: hammering a square peg into a round hole. The only conspiracy that seemed to be going on was the fact that everyone in San Francisco, where the film is set, seemed to know this opera by heart, breaking into its catchy tunes at a drop of a hat. When the Italian tenor breaks into “Nessun Dorma” at the end of an opening night party, simply because some guy tells him that his performance was good, I rolled off my couch laughing! This only topped by the fact that the serial killers hums the ditty while killing his HIV+ victims.
The idea of using this theory as a cover-up conspiracy plot is not the problem here. In the hands of a good writer and director, this could actually make a thrilling plot along the lines of “JFK”. Jochen Hick, who wrote, directed and produced the film (probably sewed the costumes, too), didn’t seem to know if he wanted to make this a crime/thriller, or a character study of his lead character. Ultimately, he tried both and failed at both, ending up making just about every mistake a writer, as well as a director, could make – this all in just 104 minutes!
One thing I have to give Hick credit for: as much as I wanted to turn the damn DVD player off, I watched this baby to the bitter end, but please don’t take that as a recommendation to do the same!
A film that every film school should use as a glowing example of: “don’t let this happen to you!”
Director: Jochen Hick
Writers: Michael Nelson Finn (additional dialogue), Jochen Hick
Stars: Tom Wlaschiha, Irit Levi, Jim Thalman
Release Date: 28 September 2000 (Germany)
Also Known As: Que nadie duerma
Filming Locations: San Francisco, California, USA
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 4
File size : 1.71 GiB
Duration : 1 h 43 min
Overall bit rate : 2 353 kb/s