Austin Film Festival 2014
By Don Simpson | October 29, 2014
Director: Andreas Schmied
Writer: Andreas Schmied
Starring: Michael Ostrowski, Hilde Dalik, Oliver Rosskopf, Holger Schober, Manuel Rubey, Carola Pojer, Daniel Keberle, Peter Strauß, Karin Kienzer, Simon Hatzl, Harry Lampl, Philipp Rudig, Karl Fischer, Susi Stach
Patrick (Michael Ostrowski) works in a rural Austrian steel factory that was recently purchased by a corporate conglomerate with Capitalist tendencies. Still hopelessly hung up on his ex-girlfriend Babs (Hilde Dalik), Patrick is surprised to learn that she will soon be returning home to assist with labor negotiations at the factory. This news prompts Patrick to abandon his post as captain and striker on the neighborhood soccer pitch to prepare for Babs’ arrival. As a play on his soccer position, Patrick becomes a different kind of striker, fighting for fair wages (to impress Babs).
A comedic examination of labor and class, as well as how soccer crosses those lines, Taking It Back shows how large corporations are destroying small towns. Avoiding any profound discussions of politics or economics, writer-director Andreas Schmied keeps the tone relatively light; but compared to Hollywood comedies, Taking It Back takes itself rather seriously. It has become an extremely rare event to watch a comedy that does not seem like it is the brainchild of a horny 13-year old boy; but, thankfully, Schmied keeps all of the jokes above the proverbial belt. Taking It Back also does an excellent job of visualizing the intrinsic links between football and politics, as the union takes their negotiations to the field against the evil rich guys.
Unfortunately, Taking It Back does not work quite as well as a romance. The plot avoids fleshing out Patrick and Babs, keeping us from really caring about their romance. Their connection does not seem to be all that believable and their relationship is meaningless in the context of the narrative.