Die Vierte Macht (2012)
Dennis Gansel unites with Max Riemelt for the fifth time in five outings (the talented Riemelt this time finds himself in a fun, but somewhat unchallenging supporting role), and goes to Moscow to make a film in the vein of the political paranoia thrillers of the 1970s. The subject material, a fictionalized story about the conflict between Chechens and Russians, is potentially controversial, which was why most of the filming was done in Ukraine and Berlin. However, if there's any controversy in Gansel's script, it's arguably only in the eyes of Russian censors. That is to say, despite some elegant moves and meanderings, this is all well-trodden stuff in terms of narrative progression and plot lines. Every character serves his or her familiar purpose, which takes away some of the potential for fresh, authentic relations and developments. Still, thanks to Moritz Bleibtreu's industrious and believable lead and Gansel's workmanship, this is a highly watchable look at modern Russia.