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  Iceman Stone Cold
Year: 2017
Director: Felix Randau
Stars: Jurgen Vogel, Andre Hennicke, Susanne Wuest, Sabin Tambrea, Martin Augustin Schneider, Violetta Schurawlow, Anna F, Axel Stein, Paula Renzler, Franco Nero, Nora Pider, Ann-Birgit Holler, Henry Buchmann, Konrad Hochgruber
Genre: Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1991, a body was found in the Alps that was initially believed to have belonged to a climber, yet on closer examination proved to have been a perfectly preserved five thousand and three hundred years old Stone Age man. He was nicknamed Otzi, after the area of the mountain range he was discovered in, but archaeologists had quite a task on their hands to work out what had happened to him and why he had died in that location. They discovered he had suffered a violent death, and passed away from loss of blood, so the speculation about what led to that was high, resulting in many ideas, some of which were incorporated into this film, a fictionalisation of what we knew of Otzi and what his corpse revealed after it was autopsied...

That, in a nutshell, was what was on offer here, a humourless effort that bordered on self-importance yet managed to stay watchable since it was your basic revenge plot applied to the Stone Age: Death Wish crossed with Clan of the Cave Bear or Quest for Fire, two other po-faced, "I want you to take me very seriously" prehistoric yarns. This too claimed scientific interest, but when it boiled down it was really just a Western in furs and stone tools, with some pretension added about how this was how it was for the human race in Europe all those millennia ago. How accurate it might have been was debatable, for there was plenty here invented or supposed given these early humans didn't write any diaries of their day to day lives.

This of course made Otzi something of a diary himself, or a human record of an era we had relatively vague notions about, and as the chap had blood from four different people on him, not including himself, we could surmise he was not a peace-loving fellow and neither were those who he encountered day to day. Obviously director Felix Randau was not about to make him the villain, though there was every chance he could have been a nasty piece of work, so the character we were offered was a simple hunter gatherer who one day while out hunting and gathering notices his small settlement happens to be in flames. Rushing back, he discovers everyone wiped out by a rival tribe except his baby, seemingly because they wanted their sacred object used in rituals. We find out what that is, specifically, once the story is almost over, a little suspense from a tale that needed it.

There was a strong possibility that Otzi was a mad bastard who performed the acts of aggression that Randau pinned on others here, and that might have made for a better film, it would have given it a more satisfying ending to see a villain get bumped off than the apparent nice guy this presented him as. But there was a sense that, despite scenes of murder and rape, this was pulling its punches and even romanticising a decidedly non-romantic period of history, when something more gruelling could have ultimately been more accurate - not that Otzi, or Kelab as he was renamed (played by Jurgen Vogel), had a walk in the park as a good guy. There were moral dilemmas aplenty when he has to weigh up his thirst for vengeance with the act of depriving families of their leaders, but just as Charles Bronson found, that paled in comparison to the execution of baddies when it came to entertaining the public. There was a feeling this wanted to be crowdpleasing rather than biting the bullet and crafting something uncommercial but with historical integrity: there were moves to both camps, though a monotony set in early that was unwanted but unfortunately, seemingly unavoidable. Music by Beat Soler.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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