A Decent Man (2015)


A Decent Man Storyline

Thomas Engel is always anxious to avoid conflict. At any cost. This compulsive striving for harmony, however, proves to be his road to ruin. He will fight for a peaceful solution. Violently, if need be.

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A Decent Man Movie Reviews

It’s a good film for as long as nothing happens in here

“Nichts passiert” or “A Decent Man” is a Swiss German-language film from 2015, so still relatively new and this one is a definite contender for the most known work by writer and director Micha Lewinsky, even if he made 2-3 other films that are about on the same level of popularity. It runs for approximately 1.5 hours and the most known actor in this award-winning work is without a doubt Devid Striesow, even if some of the others have a fairly prolific body of work too. Striesow plays the central character here, a man who is keen on avoiding all kinds of conflict in his life, even if it has a negative impact on him. The consequence is that basically nobody takes him seriously (including his wife and daughter) and that many people use him for their own good like another male character who enjoys a relaxing weekend and gives his daughter to Striesow’s character, so he takes her on a skiing trip with his family. And there are many other examples like for example discussions with his wife about how long the girls are allowed to go out at night etc. He is basically treated disrespectful by everybody, but he takes it because he is not ready to confront others and prefers to stay in his comfort zone instead. I think some of the details about the character were written extremely well and Striesow also nailed the part with his execution. You will see these moments when they show up at the screen. At least I hope you will and not that it’s just people who may be slightly similar to the character who recognize these situations that were depicted in an extremely accurate fashion. This is when the film is at its best and Striesow truly shines there. Sadly in the second half the film takes a few turns about a girl potentially (no pun intended!) being sexually abused as well as the outburst near the end where it felt to me as if the film sacrifices a great deal of its depth and convincing story-telling for cheap thrills and the desperate attempt to tackle controversial issues. Further pursuing the path of subtlety (instead of going for a poor man’s version of the ending from Fassbinder’s amok movie) may have been the key, the better choice. I may have thought about giving the film a ****/*****, but with the final developments this is really out of the equation. But maybe it is just my personal opinion, who knows. It may all have to do with a subjective perspective what you like the most in here. And it’s not a negative deal breaker either. I still enjoyed the film, even a lot at times thanks to Striesow’s portrayal. That’s why I definitely give it a thumbs-up and this one is definitely underseen. Go change it guys.


Der Schweizer Regisseur und Drehbuchautor Micha Lewinsky zieht die Daumenschrauben für seinen Antihelden immer stärker an. Wie weit wird Thomas gehen um des lieben Friedens willen? Immer falscher werden seinen Handlungen, »NICHTS PASSIERT« fühlt sich bald und schnell an wie ein sehrschlechter Traum, an Alptraum, besser gesagt. Aber weil Striesow so eine grundsympathische Ausstrahlung hat, zittern die Zuschauer mit einem extrem rückgratlosen Würstchen mit.

The sometimes invisible complexity of life

Sometimes little things become snowballs. That is the premise of this movie. The main character is indeed a decent man trying to do the right thing, which proves to be difficult. We play in life different roles that are not easy to harmonize, each one in different scenarios with different rules, expectations and colors. Father, husband, employee, friend, citizen: these are the roles that the protagonist wants to reconcile.But those roles do not always add up. This is an unpretentious, well-photographed movie with such simple premise and it delivers. Acting is a little bit uneven but there are also strong performances and a realistic atmosphere.

Overall this film reminds us the fragility of our seemingly inertial and routine life driven by the complexity of the diverse roles that we simultaneously play, which leads us to a life full of shades of grey rather than simplistic tones of black and white.