A lot of bad things happen, in Katrin Gebbe’s “Nothing Bad Can Happen”
Written and directed by: Katrin Gebbe
“Not for the faint of heart…”. That is how I usually describe any film of Lars Von Trier’s to an inexperienced, would-be viewer of the auteur’s collection of brutal, unflinching creations. It is from Von Trier’s beautiful yet hard to watch style that Katrin Gebbe seems to be drawing inspiration from, with her debut film “Nothing Bad Can Happen”. Yet, unlike Von Trier’s “Antichrist” where the title warns of the shocking acts to come, Gebbe’s film’s title is a misdirection of enormous proportions.
I am going to keep this synopsis short and sweet, because I don’t want to give too much away and I believe that those of you that can stomach brutality in a movie should see this immediately. Tore (Feldmeier) is a naive, innocent, young man who is wholly devoted to his faith in Jesus. With no family and no home, he joins up with a group of Jesus-obsessed punk rockers called the “Jesus Freaks”. The freaks provide him with temporary shelter, and even family, until the lack of respect for celibacy until marriage drives Tore to seek these things elsewhere.
His defecting from the freaks leads him to the home of a lower-class family run by a charismatic patriarch named Benno (Gersak). After having fixed Benno’s truck (with the power of prayer), Tore is assimilated into the family and given food and shelter. Soon Benno begins to see Tore’s purity and unshakable faith as a kind of challenge to break the boy down. Benno and his girlfriend Astrid (Kuhl) indulge their sadist impulses and subject Tore to increasingly horrible acts of cruelty in an attempt to snuff out the virginal purity that they detest. You know the old saying… “Misery loves company.”? Well, in this case misery hates company and wants to torture it to death. Like I said… not for the faint of heart.