Oh Boy! (2012)
Running Time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Jan Ole Gerster
Starring: Tom Schilling, Katharina Schuttler, Justus von Dohnanyi, Marc Hosemann
The film depicts the life of the protagonist, Niko (Schilling) for a day. Niko is a young adult who dropped out of college, unemployed and just drifts by the day aimlessly as he contemplates about life. Throughout the film, Niko meets a variety of characters, from his friend, Matze (Hosemann), to his father, to a former classmate Julika (Kempter) who is an avant-garde actress, and a finally a mysterious elderly gentleman, and how each of these characters impact on Niko’s current view on life.
The film was simple but riddled with metaphors and symbolism. It follows the main character and how he goes through his day, the people he meets and the stories they tell. I think that’s the appeal of the story, the simplicity and ultimately how people can connect with Niko. What he’s going through at the moment in the film is something that many people experience at least once in their lifetime, the pondering of life, its meaning, its purpose, and so on. Though it sounds like a very ‘heavy’ and in some ways dark film, the director and writer had managed to convey it in such a way that almost every major scene, there was some comedic element in it, to lighten up the mood of the film without over-doing it. In specific, the music that was chosen really set the mood of the film. I think the director’s choice to film the movie in black and white really brought out the character of the city, Berlin, and the meaning or story of the film as well. Moreover, Tom Schilling, I thought did a great job in portraying the character with some added micro-expressions and tics that simply added life to Niko.
As a debut film for Jan Ole Gerster, I truly cannot wait to see more from him. Oh Boy! is simply one of those tiny films that appeared out of nowhere and is a delight to watch. I would highly recommend this film to those who love meaningful films, or films riddled with metaphors, or just films that makes you think or those with a hint of existentialism along the lines of “I Heart Huckabees.”
Rating: 7 out of 10