“Refugee folklore”: Jubilee “crime scene” with Maria Furtwängler is not convincing
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Maria Furtwängler has been exploring her way through Lower Saxony for 20 years. To celebrate the day, viewers can learn a new word: “refugee folklore.” Unfortunately, there’s not much more to get out of the anniversary episode.
In ARD jargon, the theme of ‘crime scene’ is the crime novels that should be about more than the banal answer to the question of who the killer is. If you get a nauseous feeling in your stomach, you’re on the right track: as so often the latest case from Göttingen is a good example of how a socio-politically relevant subject does not guarantee a good film.
“Revenge on the World” isn’t just Maria Furtwängler’s 20th birthday as “Tatort” commissioner Charlotte Lindholm, it should also be a lesson on the fine line between prejudice and reasonable suspicion. The film aims to show the excesses of negative and positive racism in equal measure and how quickly one falls into the latter. Screenwriter Daniel Nocke and director Stefan Krohmer explain this by asking how sensitive the police should be when dealing with refugees in a murder investigation – or not.
Specifically, it concerns the murder of a young refugee helper: the main suspects are first a very German sex offender and later a Syrian refugee, more about this in our quick check. Ultimately, neither is responsible for the murder, but that’s about the only surprise in this “crime scene”.
An involuntarily shallow birthday present
“The Revenge of the World” tries to pack an incredible amount of material into 90 minutes of airtime and fails miserably. Virtually every scene degenerates into a cliché: sometimes the prototype of an everyday racist provides the description of the perpetrator, then again a group of black football players dances between clotheslines in front of their tents set up on the sidelines during a game break. Then when the totally over-enthusiastic Lindholm drips testosterone to a platoon of football players “Women can even lock you up here!” yells at you, even the last bit of relevance is sent.
The film wants to play with the expectations of both the viewers and the researchers, who are repeatedly thrown back on their preconceptions and therefore have to question them again and again. At least that’s the plan, but it doesn’t work in any way: the characters are too simplistic, the dialogues too high-school.
After all, the Syrian prime suspect, one of the few characters who is not portrayed completely stereotypically, at one point throws the term ‘refugee folklore’ into the room. He refers to the program he runs for his helpers: they expect spicy Syrian food and horror stories from the torture chamber to justify their efforts. A fitting word for an interesting twist that deserves even more attention. But as it is, “The Revenge on the World” remains an involuntarily shallow birthday present for Lindholm’s 20th birthday.
(This article was first published on Sunday, October 9, 2022.)