At one stage during the early part of the nineteenth century, The Austrian Empire was the third biggest in Europe. That was before several wars, revolution, and an awkward compromise agreement with Hungary which would take the country up to the start of World War I, when they would once again become one with Germany. After signing the armistice and the defeat of Germany, many soldiers returned to a once great nation now laid low with poverty and unrest. This provides the setting for Hinterland.
Peter Perg (Murathan Muslu) returns home from the Great War after two years in captivity, presumed dead. His wife has moved to the country and he feels marooned in a Vienna which now seems almost unrecognisable. The former police superintendent finds himself in the middle of a number of gruesome murders, which appear to be somehow linked to him. Along with a young officer (Max von der Groeben) and a doctor (Liv Lisa Fries) he begins to investigate, but he can’t escape his past.
Filmed almost entirely against a green screen, Hinterland tackles history from an unusual angle. This immersive and wildly imaginative crime thriller thrives thanks to director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s (The Counterfeiters, Cold Hell) bold vision. There are so many clever little touches and the supporting cast are used superbly to move the story on. Hinterland is an ode to the era of great German Expressionist cinema and the style is perfect to capture a city which was in the middle of an identity crisis.
Hinterland screened at London Film Festival.