Set in a sprawling suburban East German supermarket, Thomas Stuber’s well-intentioned ensemble dramedy attempts to weave an intricate web of interpersonal intrigue and small-town realism, but in doing so relies on sub-Hollywood clichés so tired that its emotional core comes across as pre-packaged. The film follows a budding romance between Christian (Franz Rogowski) a quiet ex-con who joins the store’s staff as a stocker, and Marion (Sandra Hüller, brilliant as always) who works the sweets aisle. The two talented leads do a stand-up job, but as each beat becomes more predictable than the last, the subtle depiction of the supermarket’s bleak-yet-comforting mundanity begins to collapse under the film’s mediocre storytelling. While there are glimpses of true working-class struggle to be gleaned from In the Aisles, we’ve seen drama play out between shoppers in actual supermarkets that was more riveting than this.
In the Aisles (In den Gängen) | Directed by Thomas Stuber (Germany 2018) with Sandra Hüller, Franz Rogowski. Starts May 24
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