Goliath (2017) | Locarno Film Festival 2017

August 8th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Dominik Locher | Switzerland | Drama | 85′

Dominik Locher (Tempo Girl) explores the nature of masculinity and fatherhood in his rather bland Swiss-set screen debut GOLIATH which tries to find a new angle on unwanted pregnancy and thwarted masculinity.

Designed to appeal to new audiences, its young lead Sven Schelker plays David a timid office worker who goes all petulant when his girlfriend Jessy (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) announces her surprise pregnancy. Clearly he can’t face the thought of growing up but the couple are clearly quite keen on one another and baulk at abortion after their first appointment. Later on, David fails to man up when the couple are attacked on the train forcing him to re-examine their relationship dynamic where Jessy appears to wear the trousers. So David starts to beef up in the gym, and inject himself with anabolic steroids, slowly becoming the stereotype of dumb machismo. The effort to improve his pecs and charisma only succeeds in the former endeavour. Instead of confidence and masculine allure, the young guy develops a nasty aggressive streak with negative implications for Jessy and the baby.

Locher’s script attempts to break down the stereotypical image of Switzerland as being a pacifist and conservative country in crafting a drama that feels unconvincing and formulaic and a storyline that is predictable throughout, despite trying to go to the ‘dark side’. Obviously there a shady characters and situations everywhere but unlike the impressive thriller Chrieg which succeeded with an authentic dystopian tale, GOLIATH merely tries to overlay an everyday urban story with sinister undertones that just doesn’t convince. The characters are underwritten and bland, and despite the best efforts of its leads and Daniel Lobos’ creative attempts to ‘sex up’ Switzerland by giving the film an artistic feel, the end result is amateurish.  Switzerland is a fantastic country which should be proud of its moral and ethic excellence and fabulous lifestyle. Locher just needs to find a real story and tell it well. MT



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