What to Do in Case of Fire (Was tun, wenn's brennt?) (2001)
What to Do in Case of Fire is a stylish German comedy from director Gregor Schnitzler. A 20-year-old bomb goes off in an abandoned mansion in present day Berlin, and all the evidence implicates a a group of anarchists that planted the explosives in the late 1980s . By this time, however, most of the original group have become hip urban professionals who don't want to be associated with revolutionary activity. With the police hot on their trail, they reunite for the first time in 12 years to plot a scheme to avoid jail. Starring Til Schweiger, Martin Feifel, and Sebastian Blomberg. … More
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Critic Reviews for What to Do in Case of Fire (Was tun, wenn's brennt?)
You might not buy the ideas. But you'll definitely want the T-shirt.
In his U.S. debut, Mr. Schnitzler proves himself a deft pace master and stylist.
[Schweiger is] talented and terribly charismatic, qualities essential to both movie stars and social anarchists.
It's all entertaining enough, but don't look for any hefty anti-establishment message in what is essentially a whip-crack of a buddy movie that ends with a whimper.
Has an energy and enthusiasm that certainly works in fits and starts, but taken as a whole, it's a few explosions (and a lot of yearning) signifying very little.
The formula is executed with such efficiency that you can't help being entertained, right? Right? Jawohl!
It's like a "Big Chill" reunion of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, only these guys are more harmless pranksters than political activists.
Starts off with a bang, but then fizzles like a wet stick of dynamite at the very end. It's still worth a look.
For a film that celebrates radical, nonconformist values, What to Do in Case of Fire? lazily and glumly settles into a most traditional, reserved kind of filmmaking.
With recent tensions rekindled by the Kathleen Soliah trial and the upcoming trial of SLA members Emily and William Harris, not to mention Sept. 11, its difficult these days to appreciate Fire's bright side.
The notion that bombing buildings is the funniest thing in the world goes entirely unexamined in this startlingly unfunny comedy.
Schnitzler's film has a great hook, some clever bits and well-drawn, if standard issue, characters, but is still only partly satisfying.
Schnitzler does a fine job contrasting the sleekness of the film's present with the playful paranoia of the film's past.
Audience Reviews for What to Do in Case of Fire (Was tun, wenn's brennt?)
I enjoyed this movie. The fact alone that a major studio in Germany would back a movie about old friends (who were anarchist squatters no less) who reunite after an old forgotten bomb goes off, in order to cover up their misdeeds and attempt to "get away with it" is amazing! The story, music, and characters are all fast-paced. Very enjoyable.More
[font=Century Gothic]"What to Do In Case of Fire" begins in 1987 when a group of six anarchists plant a bomb in Berlin. The bomb goes unexploded until 2000 when it goes off, injuring two. The police crack down on all of the leftists in Berlin(but none of the fascists?) and raid the squat where two of the group, Tim and Hatte, still reside. They confiscate an awful lot of evidence, including incriminating film of them making and planting said bomb.(The film was made to show their intended progeny what such badasses they were in their youth.) At which point, Poland is starting to look pretty good...but Tim and Hatte decide to recruit their former comrades in a daring plan to liberate the film from police headquarters before the cops have a chance to view it...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"What to Do In Case of Fire" gets off to a fun, engaging start but then ends up being just another bit of feel good manipulation. The movie is a shallow take on radical activists, rarely mentioning politics at all and not even bringing up what the group was hoping to achieve. And leftists may mellow once they leave the movement, but they usually either still try to help people or work within the system to change it. The activism does not entirely leave their systems.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note: Not all anarchists plant bombs. Some of us are pacifists. And there are some anarchists who are even nice and cute.[/font]
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