All Gone



Perspekstive Deutsches Kino

BERLIN -- Pepi Planitzer's "All Gone" is a shaggy tale of three down-and-out cockeyed optimists who find peace and harmony against the odds. Its engaging performances and wry humor could send it traveling successfully beyond German-language territories, and English-language remake potential is considerable.

Eberhard Kirchberg plays Hagen, a mentally challenged but affable giant who is released from a home and put on a train to be taken care of by his only relative. Getting off at the wrong stop, Hagen comes across a broken-down car in which a drunken man named Dohmuhl (Milan Peschel) sits swearing in frustration. Eyeing the situation, Hagen proceeds to push the car for five kilometers to the man's cluttered home, where he is invited in for a drink and some food.

Hagen decides that Dohmuhl must be his uncle, and so settles in with his sole possession: a makeshift dollhouse occupied by his pet rat. Dohmuhl is an agreeable type and decides to help his addled visitor while attempting find out who he is and where he belongs. He has his own troubles, having inherited a failing scaffold business and an unwanted former Soviet military base from his incompetent businessman father.

The only bright spot is that a woman he finds very attractive, Ina (Marie Gruber), has returned to live upstairs, having been paroled from penitentiary.

Hagen listens as his host explains that everything he had is all gone, and in a spontaneous gesture of sympathy he puts his rat in the toilet and demonstrates his recently learned skill at using the flush. It says much about how Planitzer views his doughty characters that a little later he shows the rodent emerging from the sewer, having not suffered too greatly from the experience.

They are characters to root for, and Planitzer tells their story without undue sentiment, aided greatly by strong performances by the leads and good work from his crew, especially cinematographer Uwe Mann and composer Jorg Huke.