Christmas is around the corner, Hanukah is here, everywhere people are overflowing with love and good cheer, as families and friends unite in sharing the joys of the season. Well this is true of some of course, but certainly not everyone. “Holiday Blues” is a clinically identified ailment now, as for many watching the celebrations of others only exacerbates their own feelings of loneliness and depression. Security is a film out of Germany that has been very successful coming out of the festival circuit, and I feel comes closest to recreating this feeling of sad resignation and emptiness in a short film. In a very careful and understated manner the film humanistically portrays the psyche of a lonely man.
While not specifically identifying itself as a holiday movie, Security, with its ubiquitous snow and setting (a Wal-Mart-esque store) certainly display imagery consistent with the season. Peter Kurth plays a security guard for this box store. In the early portions of the film we see this character going about his duties—silent patrols around the store, interrupted by silent cigarette and food breaks in his dank office in the back of the building. The time does come for action though. A young, pretty woman is caught shoplifting. Our man does his job and stops her, but from here the story becomes more human, more gray. What is right or wrong is less clear as our security guard must juggle duty with compassion and perhaps…longing?
The leads, Peter Kurth, playing a tough no-nonsense type just trying to do his job, soul-crushing job though it may be, and Susanna Rozkosny as the shoplifting woman, do excellent work playing off each other. They beautifully extract a lot of complexity out of brief interactions. Lars Henning, the director does a very professional job as well, truly achieving that “invisible” style that used to be so prized in film work, where one does not aspire to flashiness, but in simply immersing your audience into the story in such a way that they forget about the film’s direction.
While a little long, Security is the kind of film that is confident in what it wants to achieve. It does not reach for too much, and ultimately leaves you in quiet contemplation long after it is over. Please enjoy this, our last film pick of the year. Check in next week again as we compile our top ten list of films we reviewed in 2008!