Requiem

2006

Requiem

Critics Consensus

This harrowing, naturalistic drama holds you in its grip through Huller's intense performance.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,726
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Requiem Photos

Movie Info

In a small town in 1970's southern Germany, Michaela, 21, has grown up in a deeply religious family. Despite her long battle with epilepsy, Michaela burns to leave home and study at the university. There, she experiences her first taste of freedom, her budding love for Stefan and her friendship with Hanna. Slowly, her protective shell of faith and family starts to crack open, but it results in her having a breakdown. Not a normal epileptic attack, but a frightening onrush of grotesque faces and voices. Afraid of being sent back home to her family, Michaela seeks help from a priest who reinforces her conviction that she is possessed. Although Stefan and Hanna encourage her to seek psychiatric help, they are unable to break through the dense religious and moral ties binding Michaela to her family.

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Cast

Sandra Hueller
as Michaela Klinger
Sandra Hüller
as Michaela Klingler
Imogen Kogge
as Marianne Klingler
Burghart Klaussner
as Karl Klingler
Anna Blomeier
as Hanna Imhof
Nicholas Reinke
as Stefan Weiser
Jens Harzer
as Martin Borchert
Walter Schmidinger
as Gerhard Landauer
Friederike Adolph
as Helga Klingler
Irene Kugler
as Heimleiterin Krämer
Johann Adam Oest
as Professor Schneider
Eva Loebau
as Krankenschwester
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News & Interviews for Requiem

Critic Reviews for Requiem

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (17)

  • Working from an economical and intelligent script by Bernd Lange , Schmid directs his first feature with the easy conviction that eluded the makers of the preposterous Emily Rose.

    Nov 24, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A naturalistic and thrillingly powerful film, with a stand-out performance from Hüller at its centre.

    Nov 21, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Mattin

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • The movie ends a little too abruptly, but it features a heartrending performance from Sandra Huller that brought her the best actress award at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

    Nov 18, 2006 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Stage actress Sandra Huller delivers a stunning, understated performance...

    Nov 17, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The nonsensationalistic results are also somewhat ho-hum -- and oddly less convincing than Friedkin's lurid mess, let alone the elegant satanism sagas of Tourneur and Polanski.

    Nov 16, 2006 | Full Review…
  • The confusion and panic and everyday interactions in Requiem feel honest and true-to-life, which has nothing to do with how factual it is, or isn't.

    Nov 16, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Requiem

  • Oct 27, 2013
    As Darren Aronofsky most definitely told us, any film with "Requiem" in its title doesn't need to be horror to be messed up, as surely as a German doesn't need to be possessed to be disturbing. That's right, we're talking about German demons here, schätzchen, so Jews, now is definitely time to start thinking about converting. It's an insensitive thing to say, I know, but strictly from the religious angle of that joke, my faith is too loose for me to care, and this film doesn't exactly help, because with all my joking about the tainting of the souls of these "Krautstians" (Tee-hee), this is more like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", in that it's about the "possibility" of someone being possessed, only it's almost thirty minutes shorter than "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". Good movie and all, but seriously, 1973's "The Exorcism" dragged enough when you actually knew that demonic stuff was going down, and that's where this film comes in, actually, if you will, "exorcising" some fat around the edges, probably because it doesn't want to spend too much time thinking about the possibility that this whole possession nonsense is bogus, seeing as how the director and producer is named Hans-[u]Christian[/u] Schmid. I hope that's a coincidence, because if it's not, then it's about as unsubtle as "Dominion" coming out with the subtitle "Prequel to the Exorcist" in order to blatantly tell people that it should be thought of as the definitive interpretation of the same subject matter touched upon by "Exorcist: The Beginning", something that this film probably should have done, for although "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is good, you can forget about all that, because the subject matter that it and this film share is inspired by a story about a "possessed" girl who was... wait for it... [b]German[/b]! I'd say, "Das boom!", but that's lame, and at any rate, this is still a loose interpretation of the story of Anneliese Michel, or at least it claims to be, because seeing as how it focuses more on the possibility that there were no demons involved, it's more accurate to what really happened. Like I said, my faith is loose, but I can still enjoy a good religious film, like, well, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", which I have even more appreciation for after this visit to Okto[u]bore[/u]fest, which, to be fair, has some things to commend. Quiet and dry to a tremendous fault, this film doesn't boast much in the way of musical value, going so far as to not employ a score composer, but when the soundtrack kicks in with some classic tunes, things go livened up a bit, while tone receives some compliments, augmented by cinematography by Bogumil Godfrejów that is fairly flat in plenty of places, but has a certain cold taste in coloring that has its attractive and fitting moments. Really, I'm stretching a bit when I compliment the film's musical and visual style, because on a stylistic level, this film really isn't all that outstanding, or at least isn't outstanding enough for style to breathe some life into substance on its own, and that's where Hans-Christian Schmid comes in... for a moment at least. Schmid, as director, makes way too many questionable moves, with one of the biggest ones being a cold, meditative atmosphere that, upon running out of material, really distances you, and yet, with that said, when material does settle back in, the meditativeness comes in handy, whether when Schmid is establishing a hint of tension to what few horror elements there are to this drama, or drawing on dramatic resonance. On the whole, the film is a dramatic mess, but it has its moments, and those moments really do justice to the potential of this story concept, which is limited, make no mistake, - seeing as how this subject matter is too minimalist for its own good - but still there, primarily found within thematic depth and dramatic ambiguities that make this mysterious "thriller" intriguing on some level. The conclusion of the film undercuts the ambiguities' effectiveness, but the mystery behind this study on a woman struggling to determine if she is one terrible thing or another keeps things going a bit, though not quite like the acting, which does about as much as anything in almost saving the film, primarily thanks to leading lady Sandra Hüller, whose fiercely convincing and subtly layers portrayal of a terrified and confused woman carries more than a few parts in this meandering drama. Hüller does what she can with what she's been given to do, and it's still not enough, but it sure is worth mentioning, as Hüller's performance marks a particular height in inspiration, which is ultimately too lacking for the film to escape mediocrity, but present enough for the final product to come to the brink of decency. Alas, the final product does not cross over, having highlights, but even more missteps, and even plenty of problematic areas within its story concept. Well, I suppose this film's more dramatic approach to elements that have been just about trademark in horror film following subject matter of this type is somewhat refreshing, but outside of that, this is hardly anything new, and no matter how much ambiguities settle predictability, this path is still trope-heavy, and those familiar beats draw your attention more towards natural shortcomings in this conventional story concept. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is good and all, but if you thought that a two-hour-long trial regarding an exorcism made for a do-little story, as irony would have it, this study on the conceptually intriguing events leading up to that fateful trial is even more do-little, with only so much to tell us, no matter how long it takes to get its 2 in. Just barely falling around the 90-minute mark, this film is very short, and yet, it still takes plenty of time to drag its feet, just about to no end, getting to be blandly excessive with meandering, repetitious material, if not filler, which retards momentum more and more until, before to long, the film becomes just plain aimless. Really, pacing ultimately plays a key role in driving the final product into mediocrity, as it thins out focus so much that it gets to be difficult to get a grip on the engaging elements of this dramatically thin opus, especially with an atmosphere that is even more limp than plot pacing. Like I said, when director Hans-Christian Schmid happens across material to soak up with meditative storytelling, the film is effective, but as you can guess by now, material is very limited, so more often than not, the naturalistic, draggy storytelling dries things to the bone, with no liveliness and little resonance, until blandness goes firmly secured, growing more and more considerable until dullness ensues, then continues to bland up until resonance is completely lost. Really, while there's more to complain about than commend here, there are only so many problems with this film, yet what missteps there are go a long, long way, and that especially goes for the atmospheric dryness, for although the film could have kept its highlights and found itself secured as simply dull, the overly naturalist, overly meditative approach that Schmid takes to thin subject matter drives compellingness off. I'm not saying that this film was ever to be all that meaty, but regardless of the highlights, questionable and formulaic storytelling emphasizes natural shortcomings so much that I just couldn't get invested, thus making the final product a mediocre one. In conclusion, a decent soundtrack and highlights in cinematography liven things up a smidge, while highlights in meditative storytelling and a strong lead performance by Sandra Hüller do enough justice to the worthy elements of this story concept for the final product to come to the brink of decency, but this subject matter is ultimately too limited intrigue, and too backed by conventionalism, repetitious dragging and atmospheric cold spells that are not simply dull, but distancing for Hans Christian-Smid's "Requiem" to avoid collapse through all of its promising beats, into mediocrity. 2.25/5 - Mediocre
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 11, 2011
    7.3/10 "Requiem" is a rather ingenious and intelligently plotted little drama that also doubles as some sort of horror film. It starts and ends as a drama, yet it brings out the horrors of reality and its many pleasures. In other words, the horror and the atmosphere leading to one such thing are always present, it just takes some time for them to activate. If you can wait until then, and if you are forgiving, then you may enjoy "Requiem". A film such as this can't be called "entertaining" for at least 50% of the time, but more-so interesting. It's an art film, no doubt, but it succeeds at what it does with style and wit. Many films like this one fail, but here's one that knows what it is and what it's doing. The strength is in the central performance, which is brought to us by Sandra Hueller. This is one of those films that, for all its flashy artistry, gives me the feeling that it would be nigh nothing without that one great performance. Well, this is that performance. Hueller plays a character so troubled by her emotional and psychological demons that she falls into a dark pit of torment and hell. This may all be a result of her epilepsy, but she suspects it may be demonic possession. So do the other devoted Christian men and woman who surround her. The focus of the story is not just this issue, but also the new doors that open up for this character. She experiences romance, happiness, and friendship while taking a College Course. But of course, there's that good old psychological distraction. This brings us to an exorcism. The exorcism in this scene is well-done and emotional riveting, I must admit, and it's also one of the best I've seen in years. It doesn't go out with a huge "bang", and I don't suppose it will impact everyone. I'm not even sure how much it impacted me. But this scene, and this scene alone, proved that this is a real, genuine exorcism drama; and it's not faking it. The art-house ambitions of the film are no different of that of any other art-house film, which isn't really a bad thing, considering this film knows that it is art. It's not the highest of art, and it's not perfect, but the tale it tells is worthwhile and sometimes moving. The film itself feels like one of personality. It must have been personal for the director, and the story will be personal to many, many people. The only real problem with "Requiem", when it all boils down to the overall goodness of the film, it its appeal. There's a lot here that people could hate, while there's also plenty to like as well. Take your pick, that's really all I can advise you to do. Religious horror can be either terrifying or ridiculous, and here, it's a little bit of both. "Requiem" is no classic, and it's not a great film, but it accomplished just about everything that it possibly can. If it intends to intrigue and maybe dazzle, then it has done its job, and it has done it well. There's potential here for the filmmakers and some of the stars. I don't think that all potential will be used, but hey: at least one movie got attention, and that movie is, of course, this one. "Requiem" is simply the kind of movie that portrays ugly and disturbingly psychological horror-events, yet it leaves you in a good mood. There aren't enough films that do that. Maybe there is a special quality to "Requiem" after all. Few films can juggle two genres with such mastery, but here's a movie that does so. If you enjoy a good drama, or a horror film, then you might want to see "Requiem". If you know why certain movies are good, certain movies are bad, and why some are just plain ugly; then maybe, just maybe, you'll love the film. There's potential for you do so, but since it is not for everyone, "Requiem" can only be recommended to the most patient and thoughtful of movie-watchers.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2009
    a tragic clash of science and superstition inspired by the case of a mentally ill and very religious german girl who died under exorcism in the 70s. the film is understated and plays almost like a documentary
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 20, 2009
    Don't see this expecting something in the vein of The Exorcist. There aren't any spinning heads or projectile vomiting and no sign of the demon Pazuzu here. Instead, Requiem is a non-sensationalized, non-judgmental look at what happens when mental illness clashes with religion. Based on the same case that inspired The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but the two films are different. Emily Rose focused primarily on a lawyer involved in a court case involving the Priest who performed the exorcism, while Requiem focuses on the woman and is a drama about what can lead someone to believe they are possessed. The topic of exorcism may be easy "go to" material for horror films, but Requiem is not a horror film and the director doesn't decide for us whether or not she is possessed, but instead lets us draw our own conclusions. Lead actress Sandra Huller is really great throughout the film and the handheld camerawork is a nice touch in making the viewer feel as if they are in the room alongside her family. Photobucket
    El Hombre I Super Reviewer

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