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DAS SCHÖNSTE PAAR (2018, NJE) – 7.5/10

A rather shocking and poignant combination of drama and thriller comes to us from Germany, and the film, whose title sounds like the subtitles of some kind of soap opera, starts almost on the trail of Peckinpah’s cult “Straw Dogs”. That most beautiful couple is Malte (Maximilian Brückner) and Liv (Luise Heyer), husband and wife, high school teachers whom we find on vacation in Mallorca. One evening, they will be followed to the apartment by three drunk and drugged young Germans who previously filmed them in a love clinch on the beach, and it will turn into a real nightmare when one of the intruders rapes Liv in front of Malte. We then go two years into the future and see this couple still together and trying to continue living after this unimaginable episode.

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Liv is just finishing therapy with a psychiatrist, Malte pretends that everything is OK even though he is seething with anger and guilt since he considers himself responsible for what happened and for not doing anything, but the question is what he could have done because the attackers had previously beaten him and tied. To guess that Liv and Malte reported the attack to the police, but the attackers were never found, and just when it seems that they have finally somehow moved on with their lives and managed to suppress the horror, a new traumatic moment will happen. During a night out, Malta will accidentally see a young man on the street who raped his wife two years earlier in front of his eyes.

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And then “Das schönste Paar” or “The Most Beautiful Couple” turns into an extraordinary psychological thriller because the reappearance of the attacker in their lives will prove to be as traumatic as the attack itself. The realization that this guy not only lives in the same town as them and that nothing happened to him, but also that he has his life sorted out and that the Mallorca episode didn’t affect him at all, will especially affect Malte, and then Liv. And the screenwriter and director Sven Taddicken balances this between a classic revenge thriller and a psychological drama, since even the couple is not sure whether the best answer is classic revenge or a renewed attempt to forget everything that happened and continue with life as before.

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