Defamiliarising Characteristics

Based on the 2010 best-selling novel by writer Wolfgang Herrndorf, Fatih Akin’s latest feature film transplants the typical coming-of-age story out of suburbia and into a “borrowed” car speeding down the autobahn with reckless abandon.

Before a boy named Tschick (Anand Batbileg) arrives unannounced in his life, 14-year-old Maik Klingenberg (Tristan Göbel) is an unpopu­lar kid who is labelled as a “psycho” by his class­mates, in part thanks to the stories he shares about his alcoholic mother and absent father.

But Tschick is here to change all that. He’s unlike anything the school has seen before. He shaves his head, brings vodka along to class and shuts down bullies with nothing more than a whisper. After convincing Maik to join him on a road trip armed only with frozen pizzas, two sleeping bags and a fistful of cash, they embark on a summer of adventure that will alter Maik’s path, and his sense of self, forever. Whilst the film plays on some familiar teenage tropes, it succeeds in breathing fresh air into the genre.

Grace Caffyn

Tschick (Goodbye Berlin) is available for home entertainment release, courtesy of StudioCanal.

1. Still from Tschick.