Offline – Das leben ist kein bonuslevel

You had better get your shit together by Ragnorok!

Year Released : 2016

Director : Florian Schnell

Cast : Mortiz Jahn, Mala Emde and Ugur Ekeroglu

I’ve noticed in recent days that some of the films I had saved on my list on Netflix have gone, probably due to being removed from the system all together, so I figured it was about time that I finally get around to reviewing a movie that has been on there since I first joined Netflix a few years back.

I believe that this is also the first German-language film that I have reviewed. It makes a nice change to be able to actually watch a foreign-language film and know what is being said without having to read the subtitles. I’ve been a fan of the German band “Rammstein” for twenty plus years and even took a course in the language a few years back. I’ve never actually been to Germany, but I can speak the language to a reasonable level.

I’m not going to sit here and claim to know much, if anything about the film as I haven’t even seen the trailer, but I figure it’s a movie to review and kill just under 90 minutes of my life with, so what’s the worst that can happen?

Plot

Jan (Jahn) is a world class computer gamer, but he has precisely zero social skills. He is gearing up for an ultimate online tournament in his favourite RPG, Utgard, but conquering a quest ends up ruining not only his computer, but anything that is remotely connected to him in terms of technology. After finding out it was the player that he had just beaten in the quest, Jan goes to the police station but is laughed out of the building.

He decides to go to the head office of the games company and meets Faro (Emde), who was fellow adventurer “Gotrex” that Jan conquered the game with. Together they agree to take down the user known as “Loki”, who responds by blocking their bank cards and trying to make their lives miserable.

Can they find this mysterious “Loki”?

So is it worth the watch and having on the watch-list for years?

So I’m a creature of simple habits. I tend to like my movies to have some originality to them, or at least if they choose to be a blatant rip-off of another film, to at least acknowledge it. For example, a film about a computer game playing, socially awkward guy that meets a girl with multi-coloured hair and they go off on a crazy adventure together………..am I describing “Offline” or “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”? Or alternatively, you’ve got a shy guy who is afraid of true confrontation, imagining resolutions in his head, but one day meets a girl and decides to go on a journey he wouldn’t have previously dreamed of, mainly to a distant land. I could be describing “Offline”, I could be describing “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, and that is my point entirely.

The plagiarism feeling of the movie doesn’t even stop at just the basic plots, but in the presentation. There are a lot of nods to the computer game world in “Offline” and one which sees a bar that represents Jan’s hunger, gradually getting filled as he eats. This is a blatant take from a similar(ish) scene in “Scott Pilgrim” when Scott goes to the toilet and a pee-bar indicates how full his bladder is.

Now being similar/a rip off of other films isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it is presented in a way that you don’t mind the fact you’re watching something unoriginal, but “Offline” fails miserably because unlike the aforementioned movies, it doesn’t have likeable characters. Jan is a poor lead that seems completely one-dimensional, he is underwhelming and not once did I actually get about a “meh” feeling about him. He is supported by Faro, who feels completely over the top and not even remotely like someone who could really exist.

Graphically the film feels very dated, even though it is only two years old, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in context. I do like some of the little touches, such as presenting four possible choices when dealing with someone, but the issue with that is that it presents it so quickly that you don’t have time to read all of the options before it disappears off of the screen. One did make me chuckle slightly, a reference to the “Monkey Island” franchise about a three headed monkey.

Summary

“Offline” doesn’t offer anything original at all, and whilst there are moments here and there that could be a highlight, the positives disappear almost as quickly as they appear.

With an uncharimastic lead and a secondary character that is almost the definition of trying too hard, it is really difficult to get behind either them and really care about their plight.

Luckily it is quite short, but that is about the only major positive I can think of.

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