Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod Movie Review
Director Rolf Schübel handles 1930s Budapest with period film stateliness, but he encourages lively performances from his three leads. Erika Marozsán is a sumptuous young hostess to restaurant owner Laszlo, played with flair and a touch of good-natured swarthiness by Joachim Król (Run Lola Run). Laszlo hires András to play in his restaurant, they both fall for the same woman, and they find an accommodating relationship. It's handled with an appropriately light touch.
Gloomy Sunday spends ample time in the luxurious restaurant and the sunlit bedrooms of this trio, and becomes increasingly pedestrian as Nazi industrialist Hans (Ben Becker) tries to move in on their action. Reversals and betrayals ensue, and the "Gloomy Sunday" song continually hangs in the air like a richly melancholic threat. Appropriate, then, that the melodrama eventually transforms into a tragedy and then a tale of long-term revenge. The narrative unfolds like the pages of a novel, and though the visuals and the narrative lack the poetry to go along with the inherent mysticism of its suicide ballad, its story remains enticing, occasionally griping, and finally touching. For a grand scale weepie, Gloomy Sunday earns its tears through some transparent heart tugging, but its design is tasteful and elegant.