Worst Case Scenario (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The following review is part of our coverage of the Munich International Film Festival. For more information visit filmfest-muenchen.de/en and follow the Filmfest München on Twitter at @filmfestmunich.
There is a countless number of self-referential films on the craft of filmmaking, the technical artwork and the industry itself, especially centered on Hollywood. Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine, Donen’s and Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain and Fellini’s Otto e mezzo are among these successful pictures reflecting not only on the status of a film but its effect on the audience and the various crafts involved during the production process.
Another feature fitting into the film within a film genre is the German-Polish co-production Worst Case Scenario. Written and directed by Franz Müller, the comedy is set on a polish campsite in Danzig during the UEFA European Championship 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, and follows a crew ready to shoot a feature film on location about the biggest European soccer event. It is based on Müller’s own experiences when a film he was about to shoot got canceled which then turned into a feature about how a film did not turn out to be made at all. Needless to say, Worst Case Scenario nicely opened in Munich during this year’s FIFA World Cup and tries to jump onto the band wagon of the euphoria.
The film quickly falls flat and even the comical, yet entertaining scenes in which several crew members clash and try to outsmart each other from time to time cannot make up for it enough.
Quite early in the film, differences between Georg (Samuel Finzi), the director, and his producer over the script lead to the latter quitting and leaving the campsite and with that, leaving the crew in a chaotic state. Although the director desperately tries to move on without her, the whole project is slowly falling apart with either people quitting or trying to fill in for those who left already. As stubborn and eager as Georg is, he is not willing to accept that his film has already failed a long time ago and the best decision would be to finally quit and move on. As if these professional problems were not catastrophic enough, Georg learns that his costume designer and former girlfriend Olga (Eva Löbau) is pregnant with his child but more interested in looking for a brighter future in Poland than getting too involved with Georg’s sinking ship. Things are not looking as good as previously planned and the whole situation is turning upside down.
The concept of the film is interesting at first and starts out quite funny. The script for example offers a number of film historical self-referential comments including statements about Fellini’s and Antonioni’s work behind the camera, mainly used to justify the director’s methods and his decision to proceed with the film. Without professional actors or a fully equipped crew, Worst Case Scenario reflects on how a film is supposed to be done theoretically but visualizes the characters’ failures to do so due to either the lack of knowledge of the job they have to fill in for or the lack of technical equipment. Unfortunately, the more the fictional shoot falls apart, the more repetitive Worst Case Scenario tends to be. The film quickly falls flat and even the comical, yet entertaining scenes in which several crew members clash and try to outsmart each other from time to time cannot make up for it enough.
The film within a film comedy is interesting at first and stirs some good laughs but quickly falls flat.