- Director: Rosa von Praunheim
- Writer: Rosa von Praunheim; Uta Eisenhardt
- Producer: Rosa von Praunheim
When Rosa von Praunheim releases a film, expect the unexpected.
Darkroom may [or may not] surprise...considering the subject matter, a gay noxious serial killer...it resides [too much] on the reserved side of things. Herr von Praunheim could have [but didn't]
The thing with 'serial killer' films is...it always sounds a little perverse to say: I really enjoyed that! Think of all the great 'serial killer' - it's [usually] about the killer's charisma and the intrigue of the modus operandi...Darkroom has none of that. Lars [the killer] is a liar who poisons men...that's about it. He's woefully uninteresting and dismally dull. On the other hand, his ukulele-playing boyfriend is an utter delight and supplies a much-needed levity to the [peculiar] mundanities of this gruesome tale.
Even though the timeline is a bit jumbled, there is a fairly straightforward narrative...and, despite the quirks, it's all so pedestrian...walking down any old, small-town high-street is more thrilling than watching this.
Darkroom is not a terrible film, it's watchable...but, so damned underwhelming, it should have been shocking, mind-blowing, earth-shattering...not what we expected from [the mellowing] Herr von Praunheim.
In Darkroom, cult director Rosa von Praunheim focuses on a true crime story that occurred in Germany recently, and the result is one of his most thrilling films. Lars, a male nurse from Saarbrücken, moves to Berlin with his lover, Roland. They begin to renovate an apartment and their happiness seems almost complete. What Roland doesn’t know is that, while secretly checking out Berlin’s night life, Lars is also experimenting with a deadly poison...
In a career reaching back to the 1970s, Rosa von Praunheim, real name Holger Mischwitzky (he took the name “Rosa” in allusion to the pink triangle that homosexuals were made to wear in concentration camps), is one of Germany’s best-known and most prolific film-makers. Outstanding among his 100+ films, the celebrated It is Not the Homosexual who is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives helped to launch the gay movement in Germany. While, of course, featuring Praunheim’s trademark (and delicious!) touches of kitsch, Darkroom also surprises with its subtlety and depth. Has our most mischievous German film director finally begun to grow up?