‘Lose Your Head‘ (2013) is a German indie tale of a young Spaniard whose plan for a brief hedonistic escape to Berlin rapidly devolves into a dangerously lurid and hallucinatory tour through the city’s notoriously murky underbelly.Despite an off balance presentation and a script that sometimes comes across as forced improv, directors Stefan Westerwelle and Patrick Schuckmann nonetheless deliver a solid thriller thanks largely to Marko Mandić’s riveting performance as a serial-killing seducer of young men.
After a break up with his boyfriend, Luis (Fernando Tielve) decides that a long weekend romp fueled by sex and drugs through the notorious club scene of the German capital is just what he needs to forget what he’s temporarily leaving behind in Madrid. And the naively confident Bohemian hits the ground running. He’s barely off the plane when we follow him into a loud club’s back room where the man who sold him the powder he just snorted promises, “You’re gonna lose your head.” And the downward trajectory begins.
But first there’s the comical. He wakes to find himself locked in a stranger’s apartment and is rescued by a friendly fireman. Then comes the romantic. At a street party he meets Viktor (Mandić), a Ukrainian illegal, whose charm and mystery he finds irresistible and almost instantly declares his love. And finally, the intrigue. The following day he meets a Greek woman who is searching for her lost brother, one who bears a striking resemblance to Luis. His weekend in Berlin careens onto a path of paranoid uncertainty when she shows him photos of her brother pictured with the man she believes was the last to see him alive. That man is Viktor.
It’s here that the film becomes disjointed. Tielve’s on-screen limits are tested and ultimately breached when a few too many plot lines appear and converge. As his character slips into paranoia, Tielve becomes less sincere, less believable and less interesting, forcing Mandić’s Viktor to the film’s rescue. Even with a problematic script, Mandić’s convincing presence succeeds in driving and delivering the suspense. Is he a sadistic serial killer? Or just a misunderstood loner yearning for love? From his steamy portrayal of a dominant lover to his use of innocently sinister smiles, he keeps you guessing.
In ‘Lose Your Head’ Mandić manages to use what’s he’s given to display the versatility that garnered him a European Shooting Star honor at the 2007 Berlinale. I’d like to think that his star is still rising.
And the trailer: