In Stratos Tzitzis’ Night Out, there is a palpable energy that pulses throughout the film which leads you to believe something exciting is happening. Unfortunately, that perceived energy is a bit of a red herring, as character arcs range from underdeveloped to nonexistent with not much else occurring to compensate for those shortcomings. The basis for the film is simple; a group of hetero and gay singles, couples and polyamorous pairs journey through Berlin’s infamous nightlife searching for an experience that will open up something within themselves. Throughout this wild evening, these individuals will traverse the city and weave in and out of each other’s lives in a way that should reveal something deeper about each character. While these characters technically end up somewhere different from where they started, the knowledge gathered leaves something to be desired.
At the onset of the film, we are introduced to two of our main characters through a purposefully vague interaction at a parade in which Amir (Spyros Markopoulos), an awkward Syrian twenty-something, may or may not have grabbed the behind of a pregnant Layla (Katerina Clark), which leads to a small violent outburst that sends the characters off in their own directions. Lena has been known to party pretty hard, and she has decided to retrace some of her exploits in hopes of figuring out who the father of her child might be. Amir decides to be a bit of a creep and follow around free-spirited Lena (Sulaika Lindemann) and her lover Ingrid (Julia Thomas) at a distance until they eventually take pity on him and invite him to tag along on their nighttime journey. There’s also art gallery owner Felix (Thomas Kellner), who’s showing his star artist Michael (Martin Moeller) and his affluent wife Sarah (Alexandra Zoe) what a real night in Berlin looks like. Then there’s the polyamorous couple Martha (Mara Scherzinger) and Sebastian (Jens Weber), who are looking to convince Sarah to invest in a misguided business venture. These characters mix and mingle with one another without much impact on each other’s journey.
The acting from all of our main players is passable without being remarkable. They do what they can to make these characters compelling, but there is not much in the script to make you care about any of them. The lack of backstory for any of these characters leaves you feeling detached from anything that is happening on screen. Characters move from hot spot to hot spot without anything truly notable happening outside of smalls bits of shoplifting and awkward business pitches. All of it is leading to the final third of the film which takes place in the KitKat Club, a sex club where pretty much anything goes. If there is one thing to praise about the story, it is that the sex-positive messaging in the film is appreciated on principal. Different types of relationships and connections are explored in a realistic and respectful way. The thing is, even the “sexy” aspects are a bit of a bore and drag on for way too long. When you reach the end of the film, you are left feeling like you have not gained much in the way of insight into any of these individuals. With a fourth-wall breaking final shot in which a man defiantly moons the camera, you are left feeling that nothing could have summed up the time spent more perfectly.
Night Out comes to DVD with a 480p transfer that is fairly strong for the format considering the low budget nature of the film. This DVD offers up a decent amount of detail in close up shots. Compression artifacts are present without being overwhelming. Black levels are subject to a small amount of blocking. The majority of the film takes place at night, and interior settings hold up better than the open air night shots. Colors are nice and fairly vibrant, especially in the visually lush KitKat Club in the final third of the movie. Skin tones look natural, and there are some decent facial details present. This presentation is good enough for the DVD format.
The DVD provides an English language LPCM stereo track that could use a bit of work. Dialogue is frequently difficult to understand due to a mixture of poor source material and a hollow sounding audio track. There is an option to turn on English subtitles, but they do not seem to actually work anytime outside of the non-English language conversations. Music that appears within the film such as in clubs gets clipped during more strenuous instances. Environmental sounds present as a bit muddled within the mix, which causes overlapping sounds to blend more so than have a distinct personality. I know this is a low budget affair, but audio quality could definitely be improved upon.
There are no special features present on this disc.
Night Out is a film that feels respectful of sexuality in its different forms, but it fails to do much of interest with its characters. The narrative lacks momentum and a cohesion to make it a satisfying watch. Nightlife in Berlin is fertile ground for a great film, but this one is not it. Corinth Films has provided a DVD that looks fine, but could use a little work in the sound department.
Night Out is currently available to purchase on DVD and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the DVD.
Disclaimer: Corinth Films has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.