Jan (Mark Waschke) and Amélie (Marthe Schneider) are husband and wife that also work together in a PR company. The world is ever changing and the rise in extreme politics has put them into a quandary when they’re asked to support an anti-immigrant group. At home, Jan and Amelie’s lives couldn’t be more normal and they have two children; Emma (Julie Hermann) who is a teenager and Max (Wanja Valentin Kube) who is just growing up and has the world ahead of him.
Then one night after deciding to go away into their holiday home, there’s a disturbance and Amelie is startled by men in masks who disappear as quickly as they appeared. They contact the police, but it all happened so fast that Amelie can’t really be sure as to what happened and who the intruders were.
Life goes on though and they carry on, but it seems that one small incident has caused larger ripples which run through the whole family.
Human Factors is a thoughtful German drama directed and written by Ronny Trocker which takes a look at an ordinary family life that gets shaken up when they least expect it. Starting out on a seemingly ordinary day, the sudden disruption to their lives could be the catalyst that snowballs into melodrama with any other film.
However, what Trocker’s film does is much more subtle and feels more real as little moments start to play out directly because of their intrusion.
Told from different perspectives of the family, each part replays the story from the opening scene right to a point where the damage has clearly taken affect. Thankfully though, this doesn’t feel repetitive and gimmicky as each perspective reveals a little more of the story. This makes Human Factors not only an interesting character study, but also gives the audience a satisfying and poignant narrative framing.
Human Factors may be the kind of drama that audiences expect to escalate on somewhat unrealistic ways. However, its performances and slice of life approach makes it feel like something to which everyone can relate. Particularly as it focuses on Max and Wanja Valentin Kube’s charming performance as the youngest and most unaffected.
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