Friday, 3 February 2017

German Movie Tips: Four Men Against the Bank – a Family Comedy



In the German family comedy Vier gegen die Bank (Four men against the bank; my translation) we meet an odd group of men: an elderly actor who does not get any roles any longer, a self-absorbed young advertising professional and a boxing trainer who dreams of starting his own gym, but in reality is more busy chasing women. What forces them to co-operate with each other is that they all have seen their savings disappear through an unsuccessful stock speculation.

First, they blame their misfortune on an investment advisor, who has just been fired from their bank, but then they quickly realize that they had better have him joining them. After all, he is also upset with the bank and can therefore be the insider whom they need to get their money back - through a robbery.

As you will probably understand by now, Vier gegen die Bank contains enough of a story, though not a particularly original one. That is at least how I perceived the film. It is entertaining for the whole family, but it is only towards the end do you get a little surprised. However, I do not agree with our Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag where you can read that the script writers are stuck in traditional gender roles. True, one female bank manager seems to have used her charms to be promoted. As a contrast, however, a sophisticated-looking female detective comes across as the most intelligent of all personalities involved in this story.

Where Vier gegen die Bank takes place is stressed through a number of short city views where you see the TV tower and the Victory Column in Berlin, but apart from that there is nothing which connects the plot with the German capital.

The language of the film was interesting in an unexpected way. Some of the characters speak a bit fast and with a dialect, but that did not cause any major difficulties for my sons (11 and 13 years). Instead, what generated a few questions in the darkness of the cinema were some concepts, which were new to my children: What is speculation? How can company stocks lose all their value? And what is a dating site?

Vier gegen die Bank still runs in cinemas in Zurich, for example at Arena Sihl City, where we saw it.

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The best German family comedy which we have seen in the cinema so far is Willkommen bei den Hartmann (Welcome to the Hartmann’s).

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Swedish version

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