DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Final Report (Zarojelentes)

Director - Istvan Szabo - 2020

"Greasy movie"
The heart's filthy lesson: a cardiologist returns to his hometown after his hospital is shut, but the locals aren't all nice and well-meaning - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN

The 82-year-old director Istvan Szabo is perhaps Hungary’s most internationally acclaimed director, and certainly one of the most prolific. He has made more than 30 feature films in a career spanning six decades. His latest creation is a very conventional drama with a duration of nearly two hours. It’s mostly effective yet hardly innovative. It isn’t particularly easy for an auteur to reinvent himself so late in his career.

Professor Stephanus (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is a respectable cardiologist in his late 60s. He runs a department in a Budapest hospital and is happily married with a daughter, who lives abroad. He loves his profession, performing his duties with the passion of an artist on stage. This is deftly illustrated in the opening scene, when the term “operating theatre” acquires an entirely new significance. Stephanus’s commitment to his profession is unflinching. So much that he returns to his home village in order to work as a GP and avoid forced retirement after his hospital is shut. He leaves his beloved wife behind and moves in with his mother. A very unusual age to start anew. And a very strange return to the roots.

Life in the idyllic village, however, isn’t as peaceful as Stephanus anticipated. Someone breaks into his car and steals his GPS. The local baker encounters a tragic death due to his financial woes. Gossip spreads like wildfire, claiming his friendship with the local choir teacher (a charming widow of around the same age) as its first casualty. The unscrupulous mayor unearths a dirty secret from Stephanus’s past so that he can chase the doctor away and turn his surgery into a health spa. The waters aren’t medicinal at all, but that’s entirely irrelevant to a greedy politician seeking to attract investment. The local priest becomes Stephanus’s most trusted friend, with whom he shares his secrets and fears.

Brandauer is quietly impressive in the lead. He conveys a broad spectrum of emotions with sparse facial movements, in a film with abundant close-ups. Because the 68-year-old actor is Austrian, I assumed that someone else voiced this Hungarian-speaking character. In reality, Brandauer has a working knowledge of five languages: German, Italian, English, French and Bulgarian and he has indeed acted in each one of them. A very impressive skill set.

The list of topics in this movie is very extensive: the inevitability of change, sociopolitical ethics, the power of gossip, the clash of the old and the new, commitment to the Hippocratic Oath, and so on. The problem is that the story loses steam halfway through, and it becomes banal and trite in the second half. It feels almost like a television soap opera compressed into one long episode. It has moved nostalgic Hungarians, but it might have a more soporific effect on other nationalities.

Final Report has just premiered at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. It’s part of the event’s Official Competition. It showed earlier this year in Hungarian cinemas, but I doubt it will see extensive theatrical distribution elsewhere.



"Greasy movie"

By Victor Fraga - 26-11-2020

By Victor Fraga - 26-11-2020

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 yea...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

Forget Fast & Furious: four dirty movies featuring car action

 

Rod Wells - 26-07-2021

Our reader Rod Wells picks favourite car action movies, while arguing that the film subgenre is an integral part of a much broader subculture [Read More...]

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri
2021

Michael McClure - 26-07-2021

The life of the young star of the Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice was not as enviable and beautiful as his character, reveals this heartbreaking documentary - in cinemas Friday, July 30th [Read More...]

Bye Bye Morons (Adieu les Cons)

Albert Dupontel
2021

Ian Schultz - 21-07-2021

Delightful and quirky French movie about mother on a quest to find her son topped the Césars earlier this year and has abundant references to Terry Gilliam - in cinemas on Friday, July 23rd; also available on Curzon Home Cinema [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *