Two fine actors volley for advantage across 90 minutes in the tastily insidious little melodrama Next Door (Nebenan
). Stepping behind the camera for the first time while also remaining in front of it, Daniel Bruhl shows a sure grip on this mostly two-handed bar room encounter between an international film star (played by Bruhl himself) and a portly older fellow (Babylon Berlin
’s Peter Kurth
in a terrific turn) who knows far too much about the actor’s private life for comfort. This sharp-minded and engrossing drama of wits and secrets succeeds both in keeping the audience keen to know what’s really going on here and achieving lift-off for Bruhl’s directorial career if he seeks one.
A smart, crowd-pleasing choice (albeit remotely) for the 2021 Berlin Film Festival competition, this is an unusual film in that you’d swear was originally written as