Disaffected youth are at the center of this drama written and directed
by Austrian filmmaker Eva Urthaler.
OUT OF HAND essentially recalls
several thrillers ranging from Hitchcock's
ROPE  to Tom Kalin's SWOON
to the German film LOVE IN THOUGHTS (featured at NewFest in 2004).
In each case, a pair of young men who are intense friends end up
committing a heinous act.

      The plot of
OUT OF HAND centers on wealthy loner Sebastian
(played as a devilish angel by Sergej Moya). Sebastian trains his sights
on the equally lonely Paul (Ludwig Trepte, who bears more than a passing
resemblance to French actor Grégoire Colin). Paul's mother is an invalid
and his father is often away on business, so he easily falls prey to the sway
of the attentions of his well-to-do classmate. It isn't long before Sebastian
has introduced Paul to the thrill of shoplifting and together they seek refuge
in an abandoned factory owned by Sebastian's family. There, they hang
out, talk and bond.

      When shopgirl Sonja (Elisabetta Rocchetti) catches them in the
act of stealing a bottle of vodka, Sebastian become enraged. He wants
revenge and he convinces Paul to participate in his spur-of-the-moment
plan. They follow the young woman to her home, incapacitate her and
spirit her off to that abandoned factory where they hold her hostage.
Sonja tries everything to escape -- flirting, screaming, cajoling. Nothing,
however, moves Sebastian. The trouble is that he hasn't really formulated
a plan and the young men are confused over what to do with the girl.
Obviously, they cannot release her, so what should they do? Kill her?
Over time, Paul gradually begins to feel sorry for Sonja and draws closer
to her -- which further inflames Sebastian -- who has developed feelings
for Paul.

      Urthaler had crafted a tidy thriller that grows somewhat tedious as
it wears on. The early scenes are intriguing but just as the boys don't seem
to have a clue how to deal with their hostage, the filmmaker seems not to
have figured out exactly where the story is going. It meanders and bogs
down to the point that the audience doesn't care what happens to any
of the characters. What might have made for an intriguing and engrossing
story falls apart.


                              Rating:                C
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
Out of Hand  
(Keller - Teenage Wasteland)