Recently, the German mystery-thriller movie directed by Miguel Alexandre, Black Island, made its way to Netflix Malaysia’s top 10 list (currently ranking at number 6). It seems promising right, so I watched it with an open mind whether it’s worth or naahhh.
Initially released on August 18, 2021, Black Island follows Jonas (Philip Froissant), a recently orphaned teenage boy residing with his grandfather, Friedrich (Hanns Zischler) in a remote town in Germany. Jonas spends his days fantasizing about becoming a writer and riding his bicycle around the town with his friends, in particular, Nina (Mercedes Müller), with whom he’s currently exploring a romantic relationship.
A year after the deaths of Jonas’ grandmother and parents, his German teacher at school is involved in an accident abroad, introducing a mysterious new substitute teacher, Ms. Helena Jung (Alice Dwyer). Ms. Jung takes a keen interest in Jonas, using his aspirations to become a writer to eventually seduce him and things happen, as always (that’s why this movie trending LOL).
As the relationship between Jonas and Ms. Jung develops, Nina is fully aware of the situation and grows suspicious of the new teacher. Behind Helena’s seemingly warm and friendly facade, lies a sinister and personal agenda towards Jonas and his family.
The Europeans generally take the cake when it comes to the mystery-thriller genre, however, Black Island left a lot to be desired.
With a running time of 104 minutes (1 hour and 44 minutes), the movie started out with a lot of potential and a fair amount of intrigue, as the characters and the plot were being introduced. However, as the film progressed, it was hard to discern the climax of the movie, as the storyline was quite flat and straightforward, with little wiggle room for the imagination or the viewer’s “inner detective”.
Black Island’s short run time seemed interesting at first, as it’s not always you see a mystery-thriller movie that runs for under 2 hours. This factor did not seem to do the film any favours, as there was a lack of proper pacing, causing the unraveling of the story to be rushed through and messily tied up in a bow in the last couple minutes of the movie. If “slow-burn” was the goal of the film, it did not achieve it.
Lastly, not only does the general premise and climax of the movie leave viewers unfulfilled, the characters don’t possess any redeemable attributes or undergo any sort of personal development throughout the film. This may be partly due to such a short running time, but it ultimately cost what could have been a fairly decent movie. Until next time for another seems-promising movie review.
Our Call: SKIP IT!
Featured Image Origin: Personal