The Edukators (2004)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Crime Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 22, 2005 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 127 min.  |   Countries - Austria , Germany   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Somewhere between punk anarchy and 1960s radicalism lies the revolutionary spirit at the heart of The Edukators, a well-crafted and thought-provoking German-language film from director Hans Weingartner. But the philosophy of the titular group -- unsettle the rich by invading their privacy, not their bank accounts -- isn't really this film's focus. Rather, it's a window into the souls of the three central characters, as well as a fourth, who becomes an unwitting visitor in their world. Before we've fully learned what the Edukators are, we learn what they aren't -- as Jan (Daniel Brühl) scolds Peter (Stipe Erceg) for swiping an expensive wristwatch from the last home they "rearranged," we discover their mission statement doesn't involve financial gain. Why they are doing it, however, becomes a subject the film debates -- and whether they're having any impact, a subject the film agonizes over. The litmus test for their theories is a mansion-owning businessman named Hardenberg (Burghart Klaußner), who may just represent them in 30 years -- born from their activist roots, then aged into conservatism. But perhaps more profound than this overt disconnect between the message they're sending and their targets' actual ability to apply the message to their lives, is the realization that romantic love may actually be more important to the Edukators than their principles. The trio is about torn apart by a love triangle, and for all their bluster about changing the world, they aren't immune to the small-scale frailties of their hearts. Considering that The Edukators is also an effective and unobtrusively touching boy-meets-girl story, it's a real testament to its versatility as a film.