Hannah Dörr’s The Massacre of Anröchte starts off with the aftermath of some beheadings in the small town as the Inspector from the nearby big city arrives and sets about his work. That all sounds pretty straight forward but what unfolds here is anything but.
This short film (only 63 minutes) does not take long to get to the crux of the matter. No-one in this town knows why this has happened and how to help. This, unfortunately has a knock on effect to the abrasive and direct Detective Konka (Hendrik Arnst) who is unable to use all his wise years of skills to unravel this mystery.
The style is consistent throughout, static cameras and 4:3 ratio means that it feel very constricted and, with repeated movement across the shots, it takes on a comical tone at times. This eventually morphs into the absurd as events and performances slowly fall apart as the film progresses. The German language is perfect for the dialogue here as it is also abrupt and direct, especially when Konka is speaking! Ich bin Konka!
Konka’s abrasiveness is played off nicely against his assistant’s, Walter’s (Julian Marcel Sark), wistfulness and pensive nature and it does try to make more meaningful than they are, but it just feels a little bit too much at times.
The Massacre of Anröchte loses its way towards the end as the absurdity takes a sharp uptick that is hard to fathom and when it is all over it does feel like the ending feels was a little rushed.