The Ordinaries 

The Ordinaries is a film that draws its audience in with a once in a lifetime concept and an undeniable air of creativity. A film that draws you into its world masterfully however, unfortunately, fails to reflect any of this energy in either its narrative or its characters. This leaves the film an infuriating mess where the world feels so much more vibrant than the story that is taking place in it. Although there is plenty to marvel at in this unique piece of cinema, it unfortunately leaves one feeling as though it could have been so much more. 

The premise of this German feature never explains itself directly to the audience, instead allowing itself to be pieced together bit by bit. This unique world where every character is aware they’re an actor allows itself to be explored in a way that never ceases to be anything but entertaining. The film follows through on this creativity in so many ways. It is filled with gags and tiny background moments that flesh out this world allowing it to feel real. More than anything else this premise gives way to exciting cinematography, interesting sound design and more than anything some fantastic opportunities to create some truly fascinating sequences and scenes. The manner in which this film builds the world it takes place in and allows the audience to explore it on their own terms is truly its most entertaining element. 

Within this world the film follows a young girl trying to find her father who she has been told was a great main character, a fact she slowly realises may not be true.  It is with this narrative that the film ultimately fails. The story here is completely familiar and, although it feels extremely derivative, the unique setting it takes place in makes it easy to forgive this. However, past the second half the film stops allowing this world to be explored, instead focusing on exploring a storyline that feels overplayed and completely unoriginal. 

Although it would seem a world where everyone is aware that they are performing in a film either as a main character, extra or outtake (outcast) would be a vibrant way to explore themes like identity and class conflict the film does very little with its world in order to explore these themes. The film is perfectly creative in its cinematography, sound design, joke writing and even its production but fails to translate this transitivity to the narrative or overarching themes. This feels frustrating because as fun and exciting as the film is on every other level, it becomes infuriating to watch as one can’t help but feel that this film is so close to being something truly special. 

Adam Van Eekeran