German-born filmmaker Mennan Yapo's debut feature, which was released direct to DVD in the U.S., is a slick thriller about a hit man at the end of his rope.
Felix Mohr has been trained as a professional killer since he was 9, when family friend Martin Hinrich (Peter Fitz) helped him take revenge on the local crime boss who killed his parents. Now in his early forties and renamed Viktor (Joachim Krol), he's the best of the best, a remorseless, brutally efficient murder machine who executes each job flawlessly, leaving no clues or witnesses. Hinrich, now terminally ill, acts as his booker and warns Viktor that it's time for him to think about retiring you can only do this kind of work for so long before it catches up to you. Little does Hinrich know how right he is.
The film opens as a police surveillance team watches the sleek apartment of an undercover cop who may be on the take. Rain falls steadily and a pretty blonde woman, Nina (Nadja Uhl), sleeps in the officer's bed. The watchers never notice when a stealthy assassin slips into the apartment, kills their subject and stealthily extracts something hidden behind the wallpaper without waking Nina, who's humming a lullaby in her sleep. He considers killing her, but decides she's not part of the contract and poses no threat. The next day, Nina awakes to find her companion a one-night stand, as it turns out dead. After being questioned by the police, the shaken Nina tries to kill herself by jumping off a bridge; Viktor, who's been monitoring the situation closely, jumps in and saves her. As Viktor prepares for what Hinrich indicates will be his last job the assassination of a notoriously paranoid Russian (Wilhelm Manske), he finds himself falling in love with the sad, restless Nina. But hit men and emotional entanglements don't mix, and with both an obsessed cop named Lang (Christian Berkel) dogging his steps and a mysterious contractor fussing that he's lost his killer edge, Viktor is caught in a desperate bind.
Though slick and disposable, Yapo's debut shows a promising grasp of stylish commercial filmmaking that's nowhere in evidence in his follow-up, the English-language Sandra Bullock vehicle PREMONITION (2007).
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