Five people are chosen to play 'The Big Game' at a disused Army barracks by 'HE', its mysterious owner. Called the 'Barracks of Freedom', participants are free to set their own rules and laws. The purpose is for the group to free themselves from societal norms and do whatever they want to do. Marcus, Anna, Kai, Jessie, and Tanja are introduced to each other when they arrive at the barracks - they will compete in games created among themselves to reach 'The Big Game'. They are all of different temperament and walks of life, the only similarity is their desire to compete and win. What starts off as a game soon becomes sinister as we see each participant trying to deceive the other. Morals and scruples are set aside in their quest for 'The Big Game', in which only the coolest of heads will prevail. What is the point in winning this game. And is life itself a game..?
I was surprised to see that very little had been written about this film - I too wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't included in my box-set. It certainly requires reappraisal as it is actually quite deep in places - laying out in open shortcomings in what we call 'civilized societies'. Most of Reber's introspective philosophical musings are made by the enquiring mind of one of the participants, Tanja, and although she works within the group's rules, there is an air of detachment about her.
With this storyline, it would have been so easy to go berserk by focusing on sex and violence too much. It doesn't, only depicting as much as is necessary. Mr. Reber explains in an interview, "...if we remove violence and sexuality out of the film, it would no longer have anything to do with human beings". As with all Reber productions, the film had been allowed to take shape organically during its making, and several of his cast also double up as the crew. Mr. Reber himself acts in the film as 'HE', and Mira Gittner who gives a restrained performance as Tanja also took up cinematography and editing duties. As for the technical aspects, the soundtrack is catchy, lending itself to the theme, the overall characterisation is well conceived - none of them look like caricatures, and the film even has a lighter side. But the film is not light entertainment, despite the simple screenplay.
In fact, parts of the film would have escaped me if not for one of the stars of the film, Marina Anna Eich. She is also WTP International's (their film production company) PR and Sales Manager, and was extremely helpful by providing me the dialogue sheet for the film in English.
The DVD features footage deleted from the final cut, an 'alternative' ending, and also an interesting interview with Mr. Reber about the making of the film. Needless to say, Recommended Viewing..!
Compilation: Sabine Krappweis and Marina Anna Eich
- One of the participants, Anna is an book keeper by day but an S&M mistress 'in her real life'. She proposes a game with Kai to act as her slave, but he breaks the first rule by insisting on playing the master himself in this darkly lit scene. She had to end the game midway. Anna is played by the well-sculpted Sabine Krappweis.
- Marcus is the self-appointed law maker, but who couldn't help falling for the charms of participant and Daddy's girl Jessie. Jessie's cunning belies her dumb-blonde persona, as Marcus will soon discover. Jessie is played by the stunning Marina Anna Eich.
- Role playing in the dungeon - Marcus punishing Jessie for leaving him.
- From the deleted scenes - of Jessie working with a sleazy photographer.
- Turns out Kai is a virgin, finding it difficult to turn his fantasies into reality. Jessie offers to help.
- Jessie fulfils Kai's fantasies in this hilarious scene - now there's a reason why she isn't camera-shy - with a body like that, she needn't be.
- One of the participants' suicide sets off a chain of events that none of them seem capable to control - Jessie is remorseful in this scene - there is a different and longer version of this in the alternative ending that isn't included here.