Rheingold Movie Review: German Gangsta’s Paradise


The German of Turkish origin Fatih Akin continues with his particular saga of real biographies. After portraying the life of serial killer Fritz Honka in ‘The Monster of St. Pauli’, the filmmaker chooses to change gear and capture with ‘Pure gold – Rheingold’, the descent into hell and the subsequent rehabilitation of rapper and music producer Giwar Hajabi, better known as Xatar who has become an essential image of rap and hip hop in German, as well as one of its most controversial figures, given his murky prison past.

Pure gold

Akin plays with the timeline at the beginning of the tape, combining sequences from the rapper’s past to those of a present in which he is in prison as a fugitive from justice. And that is where he begins the story of a man who was born after the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in Iran your country of origin, which he saw his parents tortured when the family fled to Iraq where the Saddam Hussein regime attacked the Kurdish minority after the outbreak of the war between the two countries, which lasted between 1980 and 1988.

The filmmaker, in the historical sections, boasts a historical style reminiscent of the one he had in ‘El padre (The Cut)’ and that he knows how to combine with a more urban side when the tape reflects the arrival of the family in Germany as refugees and the subsequent adolescence and youth of Hajabi. Here you can see that his passion for music not only runs in the family, his father was a conductor and is considered one of the great music professors in Germany; but It was precisely his father who caused Hajabi to feel rejected by his own vocation when he leaves the family nest, taking with him the fortune that he gradually achieves by recovering his position as conductor in his host country.

Pure gold

Akin narrates an authentic spiral of self-destruction of a young man who decided to get into trouble as a way of rebelliously responding to his father’s abandonment. Here, the filmmaker’s hand is seen in an underground style that could well evoke his first titles, especially ‘Short and Sharp’ or his most acclaimed title, ‘Against the Wall’. It also shows the most inhospitable side of the suburbs, in how the peripheral neighborhoods gradually became ghettos.in the purest style of ‘Les miserables’ by Ladj Ly or ‘City of God’ by Fernando Meirelles.

Fatih Akin brings a biopic that ends up being half liked

Yes indeed, Akin combines it with the cinema of robberies, mafias and gangs, leaving the feeling that Hajabi’s life has been a roller coaster of experiences., about how a rebellious rogue ends up rediscovering his passion for music and decides to rehabilitate himself after being arrested for having carried out a robbery in which he took a large amount of gold bars (most of these have not yet appeared). However, although the plot and narrative twists work at the beginning, the end result is that it gives the impression that the tape seeks to cover too many aspects of the life of the rapper and music producer.

Pure gold

Proof of this is how Hajabi’s first contacts with the urban music industry are interrupted by a plot related to organized crime and mafias. Perhaps Xatar’s life has been like that, but narratively he feels a kind of going backwards to return, once again, to an already proposed starting point. This causes it is felt that the film lasts too long, causing the final result to be much more lackluster.

Nevertheless, what makes the film look interesting is the dedication of its protagonist. Emilio Sakraya has had the best role of his career, by showing the contradictions of a guy with a good heart whose desire for rebellion led him down the wrong path. A rogue with feelings, one of those that Akin has known how to outline in other titles such as ‘Soul Kitchen’ or the teenagers in ‘Goodbye Berlin’. Sakraya carries the full weight of the biopic, along with Ilyes Raoul, who plays the younger version of Hajabi. The curious thing is that both actors are brothers, which gives greater credibility to that transition from young to adult.

‘Pure Gold – Rheingold’ is too many things, an action film, a social drama, a movie about gangs and robberies, a thriller with a historical look. The result is that Akin stays in the middle of everything, thanks to a story that is weighed down precisely by the very biography it portrays. Despite this, his interpretations are correct and the final result is a production that once again shows the commitment of the German-Turkish filmmaker to delve into the marginal lines of an increasingly multicultural Germany.

Note: 6

The best: His first plot twists are interesting. The performance of both Emilio Sakraya and Ilyes Raoul.

Worst: Precisely its plot twists end up tiring in its last part. He tries to cover too many things and topics.

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