Critics' Pick

Nothing Bad Can Happen (Tore tanzt) (NR)

Drama 110 June 14, 2014
By Amy Nicholson
Katrin Gebbe's Nothing Bad Can Happen is a gutting German drama that asks if martyrs can be accomplices to their own torture. Its modern saint is a homeless teenager named Tore (Julius Feldmeier), a born-again punk rocker who looks like a cherub that grew up on the streets. He has no family, and no explanation for why not. But from the eager way he smiles at the world, we sense he's had his childhood stripped away, fought to reclaim it, and wears his innocence like armor.

Naturally, Tore comes across like a bit of a nut. When her first meets Benno (Sascha Alexander Gersak), the charismatic patriarch of a four-person family, Tore assumes God has given him a sign: Save this family. In turn, Benno thinks he can save Tore from being a squatter by giving him a tent in their backyard, and maybe peel some cash from the kid's welfare checks. The jobless, beer-drinking dad is fascinated by this wisp of a boy who looks like a pushover and stands by his principles. But the men prove combustible. Eventually, Benno, afraid of losing his family's awe and obedience, forces Tore to submit to his authority, and we realize that they're both drawn to abuse, Benno because he's insecure, and Tore because he's certain this is one of God's trials.

Gebbe never asks us to believe in Tore's god, but she asks us to honor his beliefs. She's found an incredible conduit in Feldmeier, an actor making his major film debut in a role so perfect for his alien innocence that it's hard to imagine him being anyone else. As he suffers, we suffer with him.
Katrin Gebbe Julius Feldmeier, Sascha Alexander Gersak, Swantje Kohlhof, Annika Kuhl, Til-Niklas Theinert, Daniel Michel, Laura Lo Zito, Enno Hesse, Uwe Dag Berlin, Christian Bergmann Katrin Gebbe Verena Gräfe-Höft Drafthouse Films


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