If you watch European cinema at all regularly, you’ll recognise Daniel Brühl. He has one of those memorable faces. You might not be able to quite place him straight away, but he’s most famous for his starring role in Good Bye Lenin!. Also receiving awards for performances in The Edukators and Love in Thoughts. The Spanish-German actor will also be a familiar for fans of mainstream cinema, securing parts in the likes of Inglorious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum and even the Marvel Comic Universe. His directorial debut is anything but ordinary.
Daniel Brühl walks in to a bar. That is how Next Door begins. Daniel (but not quite himself) has to catch a plane for a casting call in London. He’s auditioning for a role in a superhero film and doesn’t want to cock it up. He lives around the corner with his wife and son in a now trendy area of Berlin and is a familiar face in the establishment. There he meets Bruno (Peter Kurth), who he initially takes for a fan, then a detractor, then something far more sinister.
Written for the screen by bestselling author Daniel Kehlmann, Next Door is a tense two-hander which feels stagey despite the obvious satirical components. It’s a cutting dark comedy-drama which takes aim at celebrity, gentrification, the art of acting, fandom and privilege. Brühl eminates familiarity but it’s Kurth (Babylon Berlin) who steals the show. He has the best lines and knows exactly what to do with them. Next Door is an assured first feature which shows a striking self-awareness and ability to handle a complex tone.
Next Door is exclusively on Curzon Home Cinema from 1 October.