Man, I just did not get AFIRE. Is it an environmental satire about how we are all obsessed with our own mundanity while the world - literally - burns down on the edge of our peripheral vision? Is it a satire on the narcissism of so-called creatives who underestimate the intellectual capacity of those around them? Is it meant to be a deep and meaningful character and relationship study? Or is it meant to be a dark comedy? After an hour and forty minutes I neither know nor care. I found this film to be slow, dull, containing no characters that I found empathetic nor any plot "twists" that were compelling. My mind drifted. I wanted to eat a blue smurf-flavoured ice cream.
The film centres on Leon (Thomas Schubert), a schlubby self-important author struggling with his second book. His friend Felix (Langston Uibel) invites him to his mum's seaside vacation house but the car breaks down en route and when they get there they find another couple also in residence. For the first thirty minutes of the film we see them from a distance but hear them loudly fucking in the next door bedroom, much to the voyeuristic Leon's frustration. After that, Nadja (Paula Beer) comes more clearly into focus, firstly as an ice-cream seller and then as someone who is more than an intellectual and emotional match for Leon. But the character is really short-changed in this pisspoor film - a mere plot device to show up Leon's vacuity.
AFIRE has a running time of 102 minutes and is rated 12A. It played Berlin where it won the Silver Bear. It was released in the USA last month and in the UK last Friday.