Occasionally, not knowing much about a movie can be a good thing. I remember a few months ago, I watched the trailer for Der Bunker. The trailer left me hopeful, but not sure what to think. The trailer didn’t give away much, so I had no expectations going into this one. Did Der Bunker bring me something interesting and surprising? Let’s take a look.
Quirky setups can certainly lead to an enjoyable movie. Also, quirky movies can often times be full of charm and fun. I never tried to look too far beyond the trailer to get an idea of what kind of movie this would be. Honestly, I think that really helped my enjoyment of this movie because it never disappointed me in the direction that it went. As such, we’ll keep explanations of the movie limited and surface level.
We start with a student and a family. The family is a bit odd, you can tell that from the beginning. The student wants to focus on some important research. He believes his research will lead to a great discovery in physics and mathematics. He compares his work to the discovery of the Higgs particle.
In order to do his research, the student seeks a room to rent with solitude. He comes to this family who had advertised just that. It becomes clear not everything is on the up and up when he arrives. The room was advertised to overlook a lake, but it is little more than a basement room with no windows. The father of the family tries to spin all these disappointments as a positive, hinting for the first time that he may be a schemer.
As he settles into his new surroundings, the student finds not only is the room not as advertised, but that perhaps the solitude will be hard to find as well. The couple wastes little time in asking him to help tutor their son. The father, who fancies himself very intelligent like the student, has failed at educating his son. The mother seems to have a connection that has led them to believe their son is destined for greatness. They have been convinced that their son will grow up to be the President of the United States.
That brings us to the son, who appears to be about thirty, and yet they all claim he is eight years old. On top of this, he seems incapable of actually retaining the knowledge he is taught. Yet, somehow the parents are still convinced that this “child” will grow up to be President of the United States. Yes, they believe this despite his origins as a German and his inability to remember the capital of France. Soon, the father and mother manage to convince the student to tutor the son during the day. The relationship and interactions between the two is where we start to see rewarding development between characters. Outside the classroom, we begin to see even more peculiar things from the parents and this family in general.
As Der Bunker moves forward, we are treated to just some of the quirkiest people I’ve watched in years. The kid is weird, but his parents are even more head scratching. The movie spends the second act in full on odd mode. I think it hits more often than it misses.
There are moments where the acting is a bit wooden, but for the most part it is more than serviceable. They all do a fine job bringing their characters to life. The characters are what will bring you back to watch again. They are at times a bit unsettling, but still altogether entertaining. And even as weird as they can be, they are still pretty likable.
The filmmaking is mostly pretty solid as well. The lighting and colors do a great job of setting the mood. The colors in the closing of the movie are just about perfectly used. While not the most polished and shiny film I’ve ever seen, I think it is rather competently filmed. For a feature film debut, I think Chryssos did a great job of telling a very strange story. Der Bunker is full of charm. Possibly a little misshapen and weird charm, but it is still a good time.
For a movie that is shot in one location, the key here seems to be colors and lighting. The clarity in the picture is more than up to the task to deliver in both well-lit and dark scenes. All of the colors come through accurately and helps to deliver the mood in each scene.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Artsploitation gave Der Bunker this a DTS-HD Master Audio track. The only downside is that it is only in German. But German is the original language, so that is fine by me (subtitles are provided, of course). The dialog is consistently strong and clear. The environment sounds clean and the minor sound effects are also solid. No big explosion-filled action scenes to truly test it, but I found no problems with this track.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features and Packaging
I don’t really expect much out of this disc in the way of special features. In that regard, I got pretty much what I expected with the best part being the commentary.
Artsplotion included a set of deleted scenes. These were all rightfully deleted, even if some were not terrible. Some did actually bring a chuckle out of me. The back of the case said that there would be outtakes, but I found none. That is ok, I’m not sure a moody film such as this is really right for outtakes.
The only other included special features is the audio commentary with writer/director Nikias Chryssos. The commentary is honestly about as dry as it comes. Perhaps a commentary with just one person isn’t going to be all that lively anyway. On the upside, it is terribly educational. Nikias gives a lot of information about how he filmed the different scenes and what he was going for. I did enjoy this commentary, but it is honestly not great for a single sitting. That said, it really is worth listening to it once.
Der Bunker comes in a rather standard blu-ray case. There is nothing really notable to look at here. We don’t even get any interior art.
Special Features and Packaging: 2.5/5
Der Bunker is a truly interesting experience. Do yourself a favor if you watch it and go in with zero expectations. It is a crazy ride, but a fun one. There are ups and downs. There are things I didn’t love, but I did like it for the most part. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it again sometime and will probably like it again. It looks and sounds quite good. I’ll never watch the special features again, even if some scenes were funny. I do think some viewers who like quirky movies will love this and I think some who only like mainstream movies probably won’t. If you like quirky movies, I strongly recommend a watch at the very least.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.