This really shouldn’t work as well as it does. A filmic adaptation of a dialogue-heavy play confined to a single room with mostly unlikeable characters. It all sounds so uncinematic and yet the film is anything but that. It’s like this incredible marriage of what makes plays so great (the pressure cooker style drama that works so well in a constrained space) with the liberties of cinema like being able to move the camera around albeit minimally and subtlely. Plus, Fassbender makes such great use of mirror images and the starkly different walls to loosen up the space and divide up the acts. There’s also a meticulous attention to miss en scène and framing and really great use of visual elements to communicate information even in such a verbal film. The relative position of the different characters as well as their positioning / pose relative to the painting and the mannequins convey so much about the shifts in the relationships.
I really love the script as well especially the bold ellipsis to communicate the shift in their relationship between Petra and Karin.
The ending is what really puts it all over the top though. It’s bold and violent and devastating and yet hopeful as well.