HOMESICK

— by Jeff Schultz
German director Jakob Erwa has been compared to Michael Haneke and Roman Polanski, and indeed, as this psychological thriller plays out, the latter’s REPULSION and THE TENANT come to mind. But too early, the question of whether talented young cellist Jessica is cracking under the pressure of an upcoming international competition – or is, in fact, being driven mad by her evil neighbor upstairs — is made clear enough to make the movie’s crucial final five seconds a bit of a fraud. Playing cat and mouse with the audience as to what’s real and what’s not is the point. However, actress Esther Maria Pietsch — whose punim, apropos of nothing, resembles Mayim Bialek’s — is pretty much a wacko bird from the start, so the puzzle is less intriguing than it could have been. Far better at keeping us guessing is Tatja Seibt as the neighbor, whose ultimate encounter with an electric hot water coil (not to mention what happens afterwards) may make you resolve to avoid apartment living. 

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