“Hinterland”: A Historic Serial Killer Thriller | NDR.de – culture

Status: 06.10.2021 07:15 a.m.

Houses with crooked windows, crooked streets: Stefan Ruzowitzky’s new thriller “Hinterland” is characterized by an unusual set design. The film can be seen in the cinema from October 7th.

by Bettina Peulecke

The Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky won the 2007 Oscar for the best foreign language film with the film “Die Fälscher”, set during the Nazi era. With his new film he is now going back even further into the past: “Hinterland” is set in Vienna from 1920. The main actor is a disabled returnees from the First World War.

From criminal inspector to suspect: Peter Perg

Criminal inspector Peter Perg (Murathan Muslu) is suddenly the focus of the investigation himself.

When the former criminal inspector Peter Perg returned to his hometown of Vienna in 1920, nothing was as it used to be. He survived the war, including the two years that followed in Russian captivity. But now, in our old homeland, he and his comrades are anything but heroes. The former empire is now a republic, the new home of most soldiers the homeless shelter. And then a cruelly battered corpse is found. She has a piece of paper with Perg’s name on her – and Perg suddenly finds himself on an unfamiliar page of the investigation: he is initially the main suspect.

Murathan Muslu plays disaffected Perg

Perg, played mercilessly gloomy and disaffected by Murathan Muslu, actually had no plans to return to his old job, but he will inevitably be drawn into it. Not only because the victim was a comrade, but also because the world of crime is one in which he can at least find his way, as he confesses to the young coroner Theresa:

Earlier at the crime scene, death, the crimes, that’s when I felt at home for the first time and not like here in a strange world. Will you come with me for a coffee? I don’t know if I fit into this environment. I invite you.
Excerpt from the film “Hinterland”

Liv Lisa Fries as forensic doctor Theresa

The coroner Theresa is played by “Babylon Berlin” star Liv Lisa Fries. Once again she plays the emancipatory fräuleinwunder of early criminalistics: cheeky, brash and self-confidently flirtatious:

I am a war profiteer. Under normal circumstances, the professors would have let me go moldy in the forensic archive. The new times. If you try, you will find a lot of good. Freedom, justice, change. I like change.
Excerpt from the film “Hinterland”

It doesn’t stop with murder. It quickly becomes clear that this is a serial killer. Perg is no longer suspected and – now as an investigator – takes on the central role. Muslu is impressive as an actor, as is Matthias Schweighöfer, who has a short but concise guest appearance. Most of all, however, the unusual look of the film is the most memorable.

Memory of an expressionist silent film

Houses with crooked windows, crooked streets: everything is somehow out of joint – an obvious metaphor for the state of society and the state of mind of its supposed hero. The set design and the visual style are reminiscent of the masterpieces of expressionist silent film, above all “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”.

It takes getting used to and does not work consistently well, but it makes “Hinterland” a very interesting historical serial killer thriller.


Year of production:
Country of production:
Luxembourg, Austria
Additional info:
with Murathan Muslu, Liv Lisa Fries, Max von der Groeben, Matthias Schweighöfer
Stefan Ruzowitzky
98 minutes
from 16 years
Theatrical release:
October 7, 2021

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NDR Info | Culture | 06.10.2021 | 08:55

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