Frank Christian Wagner
Frank Christian Wagner
I'm a big sucker for period pieces, but only if they are done well. As I'm sure you've probably guessed based on my rating, "A Father's Job" is not only done well - it's done exceptionally well. The actual presentation of this film looks and sounds as good as any of its big-budget counterparts I've seen in recent years, and the fact that the story itself is a good one definitely doesn't hurt. A great film relies on all the parts, from pre-production to post, to work well, and yes, reader, Frank Christian Wagner's flick hits all the right bells.
This is the type of film where spoilers are important, so I'm going to try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. Still, I can tell you it makes excellent use of Hitler's Germany as its backdrop - and again, it does this "exceptionally" well. In the film, Johann tells the story of his wife as his daughter Helga sits silently brushing her hair, presumably listening. The film consists of Johann's narration as he speaks aloud and re-lives through the flashbacks that "are" this film. At first, the audience has a pretty damn good idea of where this story is heading - the clues and happenings are all building up until finally ... something seems a little odd. Perhaps a slight change or interpretation or maybe something larger that catches the viewer's eye. By the third act, "A Father's Job" clearly has been telling a completely different story than the one it started to tell. Or, let me be more precise, Wagner's film has been telling a different story than you "presumed" it was telling. It's a safe bet to assume anyone reading this will understand that "A Father's Job" takes place during WWII for a reason, so yes, reader, that reason eventually becomes clear as crystal.
Typically, this is the part where I begin writing about the technical elements of a production but honestly? I think I made my thoughts pretty clear above. The look, the scoring, even the sets, props, and wardrobe all felt top-notch, allowing "A Father's Job" to literally glide across my screen. As for the performances themselves? I'll admit I never really know how to approach a film that is sub-titled when it comes to acting, but one thing I do know is this. I was never taken out of the story by anyone's awkwardness - so, even though the actual dialog was something I couldn't understand with my ears, nothing felt phony or amiss. I also couldn't help but notice that the story and the way it was all put together worked hand-in-hand to tell this tale in the proper way. That may sound a little vague, but once you see the film, you'll understand completely what I mean.
At the end of the day, "A Father's Job" is, simply put, an excellent short film. There's no other way to describe it. Frank Christian Wagner and his troupe of talented individuals have really created something special with this title. It's all about the journey here, and I'm extremely pleased to be able to write that that journey is a slick and polished one. The fact that this film is both a message and a reminder is the gravy on the potatoes. Four and a half stars and yes, reader, this film has "earned" each and every one.