Set in Germany, 2029, we follow Johann (Tobias Moretti) & Lucia (Valery Tscheplanowa), who decide to retreat to their own private luxury home. Johann has just been officially banned from publishing his writing, and the couple wish for some time-out from the world. In his most recent article, Johann voiced his opinions about a major election, claiming heavy research was conducted, and his words were true and all factual. Despite this, the company he wrote for has shut him down from voicing his thoughts. As Johann and Lucia attempt to lay low and stay safe, they soon find conflict and more problems than either could hope for have followed them.
The fun and incredible advancements in this futuristic world are numerous. As an audience, we learn very quickly that 2029 is filled with major advancements in technology. Some of these advancements include the fact that boats can drive themselves, suitcases are now capable of moving themselves, and in-home technology is completely automated with voice controls and smart sensors. Taking a shower couldn’t be simpler; use your voice to command how hot or cold you like the water. From a visual point of view, I enjoyed the house’s look, style, location, and setting. The actual house looks great, and the technology aspect adds a basic yet superior level of creativity.
‘The House’ is best described as a drama with some thriller-ish moments. For the most part, the film introduces multiple subplots that build the suspicion between Johann and Lucia, and political themes, especially when it comes to Johann’s dealing with the impact of his recent article. The most interesting plot point is the doubt and lack of trust between the leads. The discussion about the upcoming election and politics didn’t work for me, mostly because this is a subplot that occurs off-screen and doesn’t warrant any deep investment from viewers. On top of the mistrust between Johann and Lucia and the political fallout, the extreme technology in their house starts acting a little strangely, setting another subplot into motion. This subplot is a nice touch, but the reveals surrounding it are far too predictable, and at times, this plot point is pushed aside as we watch our leads tackle another matter until the house decides to play up again in due time.
The pacing here is a challenge. For the most part, I found The House to be slow and dull, and again, the political chatter makes this film extremely uninteresting. Leading characters are not overly likeable, and outcomes between the two leads are obvious. Many scenes also drag on or overstay their welcome, including the third act. The third act attempts to end on a high note, building on some major reveals, but instead, it moves at a snail’s pace, and the reveals struggle to be impactful and surprising.
Overall, with a few pleasing concepts relating to a futuristic setting and technology, and a pleasing visual style, The House successfully brings moments of both drama and thriller to life. However, as a plot, I can’t deny that while the drama is a strength, it fizzles due to unlikeable characters, including the leads. The House is highly predictable, and the thrills lack excitement, especially in the subplot relating to politics and worldly matters, which occur mostly off-screen. The dull and slow moments throughout lead to a predictable finale and drags to a conclusion at a snail’s pace. The House (2021) is Now Available at the German Film Festival – 2022. For more information or session times, check out the link here: https://germanfilmfestival.com.au/