I love reviewing foreign films for my blog and for Biff Bam Pop!. Ronny Trocker’s Human Factors has us questioning what we think we know about one family’s dynamics and how they handle an invasion.
Human Factors is a German, Italian, Danish collaboration from Dark Star Pictures that was written and directed by Ronny Trocker. The film begins with a family: mother, Nina (Sabine Timoteo), father, Jan (Mark Waschke) and children Emma (Jule Hermann) and Max (Wanja Valentin Kube) arriving at their holiday home. Tensions are high, and you immediately sense the disconnect between all four.
It isn’t long after the father heads over to the town’s small grocery story that the idyllic vacation turns sour. There are intruders in the home, but only Nina has seen them before the intruders, who are wearing animal masks, run out of the home. Nothing was destroyed, and nothing was taken except for Zorro, Max’s pet rat. Why would the intruders take a rat? The police are called, but there are no clues to go on.
Nina, in her fright at discovering the intruders, runs into a door thus bloodying her nose and self-respect. After Jan reveals to the local police that the intrusion might be related to a new client; Jan and his wife jointly own an advertising agency. Their new client is a political party that is running on the immigration problems of their country. It is then that director Trocker sends the viewers back to the sequences leading up to the weekend get-a-way.
We learn through the flashbacks that there was already trouble in paradise. Emma is having trouble in school. Max is having problems in choir practice. He doesn’t want to sing but is outvoted by his parents. Nina and Nan are having some financial problems with their advertising business, but Jan had accepted the political assignment without consulting his wife. Once news is out that their firm will be handling the publicity adds, their firm is attacked via paint bombs…which is the reason the family took the weekend trip to the holiday house.
The most intriguing part of the film, although confusing to me at first because I wasn’t quite sure when we had been unceremoniously dumped into a flashback, was how we start to understand how each member in the family digested the invasion. We get a front row seat to what each member witnessed and how they are trying to wrap their minds around the events.
There are so many secrets in this film, that it isn’t until the very end that we learn what exactly happened at the holiday home. Human Factors will hit theaters (in NY and LA) May 6, followed by a digital release May 24.