Wild Mouse, the directorial debut of cabaret artist Josef Hader, is a film about a small man made for a small audience.
The film “Wild Mouse” (Wilde Maus) directed, written and starring Josef Hader was screened in competition at the 2017 Berlinale. The picture is the film debut of Hader who is well-known in Austria as a cabaret performer. The movie is about Georg, a music critic who is dismissed from his work at a Viennese newspaper and who becomes vindictive towards his former boss Waller.
It is a comedy made in Viennese (Wienerisch) dialect which makes it hard to understand even for German people unless they read subtitles. Wienerisch is widely used in cabaret but usually Austrian films feature Standard German and not slang. German language is spoken in many countries and a lot of foreigners speak literary German so it is quite strange that Hader decided to use slang to such an extent in a film meant for an international public. This definitively reduces the picture’s audience and it’s comedic effect is diminished as the jokes lose a lot in translation.
The plot of the film is predictable, the humor only touches upon small problems and the motivation of the characters is not always clear. The actress Pia Hierzegger who played Johanna in the film is not charismatic nor a great actress either. Hader himself plays Georg well, but his character is superficial and not compelling enough.
The positive aspects of the film are good choices in music, several cinematically appealing shots featuring rain and snow. Also the Prater amusement park was a good choice of surroundings, it also served as a film location for the 1949 Orson Welles classic “The Third Man”.
However in the end we can only say that the film “Wild Mouse” about a “small person” is a small film for a small audience. Nevertheless, the picture is Hader’s first film, and taking this into account that he was the director, screenwriter and actor, we can expect more interesting films from him in the future if he understands the flaws of his directorial debut.