Review: Falco DVD

Falco DVD boxSTUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Thomas Roth | CAST: Manuel Ruby, Nicolas Ofczarek, Christian Tramitz, Susi Stach, Patricia Aulitzky
RELEASE DATE: 4/19/11 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
SPECS: NR | 109 min. | Foreign language biography | 1.66:1 widescreen | stereo | German with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Falco movie scene

Manuel Rubey demands that Amadeus rock him in the 2008 biopic Falco.

Falco is a deep and detailed 2008 German biography of the titular 1980s pop star, Hanz Holzel, whose career followed the familiar arc through wild success, women, alcoholism and self-realization, of which these stories tend to consist.

Though, like most Americans of Generation Y, I can obliquely recall the tunes of “Rock Me Amadeus” and “Der Kommissar,” I honestly hadn’t heard the name Falco until seeing this movie. Add that to my vague distaste for music biography movies (I was the one who didn’t like Walk the Line) and anything whose DVD box art deliberately tries to imitate the big red marquee made famous by the Oscar-winner Chicago, and I expected to not like Falco. I was pleasantly surprised.

Most of the success of this film is due to two things: first, an excellent and highly memorable portrayal of the singer by Viennese actor Manuel Rubey, whose spastic, sexual and eminently stylish manner fit the role perfectly and provokes strong comparisons with a young Johnny Depp (The Tourist).

Second, Thomas Roth’s exploration of how Holzel’s wife, agent, mother and alcoholism influenced his psyche by pulling him in different directions is well-realized, though the film went almost too deep. Falco’s running time, moderate as it is, became a bit much as themes began to repeat themselves to the point where I wondered why Holzel could never learn a lesson.

Overall, the well-crafted Falco can be recommended to any fans of the man or music biopics in general.

The DVD doesn’t have any special features, but we would have loved to have seen an interview with Rubey about getting into this out-there role.


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About Alex

Alex Kikuchi loves movies of every size and variety and has fancied himself a film critic ever since Mystery Science Theater made it look so easy when he was a kid in the 1990s.