Film Review: Styx (2018)

STUDIO: Film Movement | DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Fischer | CAST: Susanne Wolff, Gedion Oduor Wekesa, Felicity Babao, Alexander Beyer
RELEASE DATE: Feb. 27, 2019
SPECS: NR | 94 min. | Drama

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes):

An understated film that has much to say, Styx is a masterwork of visual storytelling from Austria-born filmmaker Wolfgang Fischer. A parabolic piece which focuses on the morals of an individual at odds with structured protocol, it’s anchored by a remarkable lead performance by Susanne Wolff, who’s already won a clutch of awards in Germany for her role.

Susanne Wolff crosses the Mediterranean in Styx.

Wolff plays a staunch ER doctor, Rike, who is committed to her work of saving lives.  When her one-woman journey across the Mediterranean Sea gets impeded by a violent storm, she finds herself at an impasse when she comes across a sinking boat of refugees desperate for help. The film paints a frustrating narrative that will have audiences white knuckling over bureaucratic protocol when innocent lives are on the line.

There is a lot to unpack from the movie Styx, from its name that evokes the Grecian mythological river and goddess, to its commentary on the inaction of people more concerned with Maritime law than human lives. It is a film that speaks to the political climate of present day in a succinct and clear manner, while offering some of the finest seabound camerawork I’ve ever seen. Cinematographer Benedict Neuenfels manages to capture the ebb and flow of a small yacht out on the open sea, minus the seasickness.

I hesitate to say anything more about the film, so as to not ruin the emotional resonance of a journey that I felt while watching it. Styx is a movie that will stick with the viewer long after the credits roll—and it’s a movie that is best experienced on the big screen.

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