Coup De Grace

Bomb Rating: 

"Men are from Latvia, Women are from the Ukraine."

One imagines that during the end of the Russian Civil War in 1919, interpersonal relationships were probably the least of most people's worries. However, director Volker Schlondorff manages to turn one of the 20th century's most important events into a version of "Men are from Latvia, Women are from the Ukraine."

Taking the idea that women like "bad" boys a little too far, "Coup De Grace" has an aristocratic young woman (Margarethe von Trotta) falling for a Prussian soldier who has all the personality of tepid Borscht. The more this guy appears to not want to have anything to do with the woman, the more the woman wants him. To make matters worse, they're on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum, so it's kind of like watching Hillary Clinton desperately pining for Wayne LaPierre.

Whether it's to attract attention or simply to get her rocks off, the woman spirals into bouts of depression and promiscuity. Naturally, this gets the soldier to begin paying heed, and eventually he sort of blows his top and admits his love for the woman. At this point, just about everybody in the film seems pathetic.

As one might expect, the political struggle eventually comes to the forefront in a feat of coincidental timeliness. Symbolically, the State turns out to be the winner and the audience, the loser.

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