Entertainment » Movies

Darkroom - Drops Of Death

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 24, 2020
'Darkroom - Drops Of Death'
'Darkroom - Drops Of Death'  

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The veteran filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim - who is also Germany's most famous gay activist - has made over 150 short and feature films to date. His latest movie, "Darkroom - Drops Of Death," which is currently playing the film festival circuit, is a thriller loosely adapted on a notorious gay serial killer whose story played out in the German media for several months a few years ago.

von Praunheim starts the story several years before the murders when Lars (Bozider Kocevski) is a bartender in small-town gay bar and living at home with his wealthy grandmother. When he first locks eyes with Roland (Heiner Bomhard) one night in the bar, it is love at first sight - so much so when Roland tells him he is going to Berlin to pursue his career as a performer, Lars immediately says he'll join him.

They buy an apartment together with money we later discover Lara had stolen from his grandmother, whom he helped have an early death after she mentioned she was cutting him out of her will. 

For the next six years, the two men live a comfortable life in the city. They enjoy an open relationship, which Lars has reluctantly agreed to even though he is not keen on the idea. He has become a nurse meanwhile but has now given that up to train as a teacher.

One day, out cruising for sex, Lars discovers liquid ecstasy for the first time, which gives him a sexual high but can easily be fatal if taken in excess or mixed with alcohol. The knowledge turns this ordinary man into a determined killer of men who innocently cross his path.

In a short space of time, he kills three men, but another two potential victims escape; their evidence will later be enough to get Lars sentenced to life imprisonment.

The motive for the murders is never crystal clear, and you are essentially left wondering why this quiet and rather nondescript man would do such dastardly deeds. Lars himself tried in vain at the trial to portray the deaths as a mistake. The judge, however, declared that he thought Lars wanted to feel the total power over others and delight in it.

It's a tight thriller that, in von Praunheim's experienced hands, avoids any sensationalizing of the crimes, but at the same time has you completely engaged to the very last frame.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.

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