By Adam Ray Palmer
Jakob Lass returns to the big screen after four years with Tiger Girl. His previous indie film, Love Steaks, has a similar style to his latest offering, but certainly not the kick-ass power.
With Lass in the director’s chair: Ella Rumpf, Maria Dragus, Enno Trebs and Orce Feldschau star in this colourful comedy-drama.
The posters for Tiger Girl were certainly the best at Berlinale, but could the film replicate that?
Having failed to get into the police force, Margarete (Maria Dragus) takes up training as a security guard. One night, Tiger (Ella Rumpf), a street-wise brawler, saves Maggie from a sexually aggressive ex-colleague. After renaming Margarete‘Vanilla’, she begins to steer her life in a completely different direction. What follows is a tale of how their relationship blossoms with major highs and then the major lows.
We first meet both protagonists when the ineffective and innocent Maggie fails to make it into the police department. Straight after her failure, she goes to a local store and sees a passer-by nick her parking spot. Maggie's at the end of her tether, but then, Tiger, a cool parking attendant with slicked-back hair smashes the wing mirror off to make room for Margarete. Like the viewer, she's stunned yet impressed. Tiger’s violence is always in retaliation for a wrong that has been committed, like some kind of roundhouse-kicking superhero.
Jakob Lass, who follows up the acclaimed hit Love Steaks, films according to the rules of his very own ‘FOGMA’ manifesto. This means the majority of the dialogue is improvised. This is truly impressive as the script is extremely lyrical littered with hilarious one liners. His choice of style is very reminiscent of 2012s Kick Ass, with the comic book 'pow' fight scenes and slick and up tempo editing. As the film picks up pace, the stakes are increasingly raised and moral values are soon being challenged.
After more and more dangerous adventures with the magnetic Tiger, Vanilla discovers she has an intriguing taste for violence and one not limited to petty vendettas like Tiger. Soon, everything changes as Maggie's attitude and temper flairs on her security course as she consistently challenges the brute of a lecturer.
Lass breaks the stereotypes here and if anything, reverses them. The only nudity of show is from the male characters, the 'super-girls' rarely come unstuck when scrapping and the ladies are certainly the most dominant in their respective groups. Maggie owns her dim-witted males on her security course and Tiger looks after her two street friends who owe debt to a drug dealer.
As the final scenes approach, the switch between Tiger and Vanilla in the violence department is a welcome twist. The ending sequence is electric and climaxes intelligently like the film began. Golo Schultz’s score mirrors the film’s aggression, and maintains the energy high. Ella Rumpf and Maria Dragus make a fierce pair of femme street fighters in this 'screw-the-authorities' movie. Jakob Lass delivers a special Berlinale treat.
Cineroom’s Rating: 5 Stars
Tiger Girl premiered at the Berlinale on 10th February 2017 – certificate TBC