Hannes Stoehr's Berlin Calling is a bit of a curate's egg -- overall, it leaves an off taste in the mouth, but parts of it are excellent. It's more or less a fall-from-victory-to-despair picture, starring Paul Kalkbrenner as DJ Ickarus, a character who, like the actor portraying him, is a superstar techno disc jockey in the Berlin scene. His career is going great guns, but he's hindered by his drug addiction, which is fueled by a hanger-on named Erbse (played with sinister nervous energy by R.P. Kahl), an ingratiating pusher.
Berlin Calling is something of a disappointment; its sex-and-drugs narrative is nothing we haven't seen before, it delves precious little into the vibrant and diverse German techno scene, its script is minimal to the point of being silly, it overreaches with its obvious metaphors, and overall, it comes across as inconsequential and slight when it should be soaked in bad vibes and heavy feelings. But it does have enough to recommend it (especially some terrific acting by Kahl, Corinna Harfouch as Ickarus' therapist, and Araba Walton as an ex-girlfriend) that it might be worth hunting down on DVD if it gets a stateside distribution deal. It's also a gorgeous-looking, slicky photographed film and, unsurprisingly, the soundtrack is explosively great for those attuned to the Berlin sound.
Off to get into another fruitless argument with the front desk at my hotel. Tomorrow: once more into the breach, then some metal hangover on Sunday before I finally head back home for episode #2 of Kings. How I suffer for you, AV Club readers! Cry real tears.