In recreating the crimes of notorious German murderer Fritz Honka, director Fatih Akin conjures up the spirit of great 70s cinema, but only shows how futile his film is
Apart from its grisliness, its hopelessness, and its pointlessness, what strikes you most about this true-crime movie is its brownness. The colour brown predominates. Fatih Akin painstakingly and pedantically re-enacts the gruesome life of Fritz Honka, a Hamburg serial killer who in the early 70s kept dismembered body parts of prostitutes in his attic flat. When people complained about the smell, Honka – a racist as well as everything else – blamed the Greek Gastarbeiter family that lived downstairs.
Everything in this universe is a deeply depressing shade of brown: the wooden furniture in his apartment and also in The Golden Glove – the unspeakable pub where he picked up his victims – as well as the beer bottles, the curtains, the food, the dried blood, the wet blood, the stains on clothing and of course the spilling contents of Honka’s lavatory. Even the porn pinned up all over the walls seems to have turned brown with age. Here is where Honka violently assaults and murders these women in circumstances which, even without the violence, might cause Lucian Freud to lay down his brush and say: “Do you know, I’d really rather not.”