"Heikos Welt" or "Heiko's World" is a new German movie or relatively new at least as this film had its premiere back in 2021, but for general audiences it took until 2022 to see this one. It runs for almost two hours and actually has become a bit of a cult classic here in Germany over the last year. It is impressive how this film has not only scored some awards attention here in Berlin, which is not super surprising, but also for example in Munich and that is surprising because the film feels very close to the city of Berlin with the locations you see in here, but also with the ways in which the characters communicate with each other. We call it Berliner Schnauze and it is almost impossible to translate I'd say. Just a way of life. I know it very well myself, but I do not really use it. It is not my style. Maybe this is also why I found certain segments from this film a bit on the funny side and other Berlin locals in the audience of my viewing perceived these as something totally normal and natural. I guess if you come from abroad, then you will also see it as a bit out of the ordinary and special, just like I did. Anyway, another reason why this is seen as well not an underground movie, but a very local movie are the people working on it. The writer and director is Dominik Galizia and he is not a rookie, but also not extremely experienced and it has been almost five years since his previous project and this one here is now definitely his most known work at this point. Maybe he can top it one day, but in any case it should help him to get employed and get funds for future projects. The cast does not look much different: The lead actor is Martin Rohde and he has not acted in anything else before this one according to imdb. I don't think he is related to Armin Rohde, one of Germany's most known actors for decades now, even if maybe not so much very recently anymore. There are two major supporting actresses in here. The protagonist's love interest is played by Leyla Roy and she is almost as new to acting as Rohde, but Heike Hanold-Lynch, who plays the main character's mother, is extremely experienced, has been in big international, even Oscar-winning productions and worked with the likes of Wes Anderson, even if her parts were always very small. So it is not exclusively new actors on board here.
I think this is especially a good film for Berlin citizens as a whole. You will probably find a few corners and spots you will recognize when watching and also if you are familiar with the trains and their routes here. From this perspective, the most memorable moment here was when two characters, including the central character, eat at a local snack bar or snack stall whatever the word is and this was so special for me because I know the place very well and it's not very far from my home and I have ordered there before. The guy who works there in real is actually also the one you see working there in this film here and he is very nice I think. I am not happy with all the employees there, but it's pretty cool to see him in this movie. Awesome inclusion and this creates of course another connection with the city of Berlin. They used somewhat famous people on a few occasions. Of course, the biggest name is Roberto Blanco, who is known in Germany for over half a century, and we see him walk down the street on one occasion and briefly perform a song on another, so he did not really have to act here. But Blanco is so likable always. Aside from him, at the very end, there is another musician and his performance is basically the end of the movie too. He had to fill in because Roberto Blanco was still under shock when people broke into his home. In the film of course, not in real. But it was so nicely included that I felt sorry for Blanco, even if I did not see him there. So yeah, this film strongly delivers through authencity and depicting Berliners the way they behave and the way they really are when they have a drink at the local pub. A beer and a futschi! I did not know the latter myself because I am not a big drinker, but it sounded funny and most Berliners know exactly what it is.
Oh, as for the cast, I also have to mention Franz Rogowski. He is easily among Germany's most successful actors these days, has triumphed at the German Film Awards in recent years and to see him as part of this pretty obscure project is pretty awesome. Definitely raises my already fairly high appreciation for him. I think somebody like Lars Eidinger or Sandra Hüller we would not have seen in a project like this bceause they would have been scared of the risk. Rogowski is also only in one scene and he does not do too much there except being there and throwing a few darts, especially compared to the behavior of the female character next to him, but it's still cool. This female character also appears at the end again, but Rogowski is not back there as well. Anyway, let's talk a bit about the plot: We have a guy who lives with his mother and the two have a very close relationship. Actually, it was very sweet the way they depicted these two and how they stick together. Heiko will manage. Also the moment when she says something like how she wants to keep seeing him and also her future grandchildren and then he responds that he also wants her to see him. This was the issue there because her sight was getting worse and worse and surgery would be extremely expensive and the medial insurance company would not really pay or at least not a lot of the sum. Luckily, Heiko seems to have a bit of a talent when it comes to darts and he wins a few duels against people at the pub and then there is a big pub championship on the horizon in which he wants to take part and gain the top prize. This championship is also the film's big final event then.
Before that, the movie moved a bit away again from the darts idea and this was because of another women entering Heiko's life, but she really proves to be a handful. She beats him when they play darts against each other and in order for her to not play at the big event, Heiko has to help her with a plan. Initially, when she makes him steal this tire, I thought she is really trouble, then when it turns out that it was her car I thought she was nice again, but with what they actually have in mind, namely break into Roberto Blanco's apartment, very absurd, yet interestingly funny plot somehow, you could see that she is overall no good for Heiko. Especially because they agree that she will stay outside and only come in after he throws down a coin to make her realize that everything is good and safe. The two stole a very big award from Blanco's home, a bottle replica it was I think. The film does not need a "crime is bad" message right after that, but even if the mission is successful, there is a rude awakening for Heiko immediately afterwards when we realize at the girl's place that she is not single and also that apparently there is a lot of stuff in her home that seems to be from previous burglaries like a huge jelly bean it was I think. Heiko realizes too that she only used him and has no interest in him really and the situation escalates and Heiko is knocked down and bleeding. There is even a brief dilemma if he could be dead. However, he returns one day later for the darts tournament and really unleashes there and defeats his former friend in the final. Nice revenge and he gets a lot of money for this victory and the (as we know now) bad guy and bad girl especially (so the bad guys) are mad about it. The happy ending then is that Heiko's mother had her surgery and it all went well for her although she was scared before that and the two have travelled together to Spain it was I think where they really wanted to go together. And as he stated earlier, his mother is still woman number one in his life. Oh and Heiko's mustache is gone too in the end. He looks very different.
In general, it will be very interesting to see what kind of career Rohde will be having after this film. I hope a good one. I liked him. He reminded a bit of the actor/character from the Clint Eastwood movie that had to do with a security guard preventing a terrorist attack. This kind of role Rohde could play too I am sure, likable characters that are like you and me and become kinda unlikely heroes or so. As for the mother, you could maybe argue if her reaction to his son introducing his friend or girlfriend whatever to another character before he introduced her to her was a bit exaggerated, but I found it totally authentic. Mothers can react like that and lack reason altogether when they are emotionally hurt. So this film did a lot right in depicting the relationships between the characters. I have to dig deep for something I did not like too much. Maybe the other male character who shows up at Heiko's mother's doorstep in the end was a bit too much happy ending closure, but it was also not bad or anything, just not as good as the rest of it all. Also I was not too big on the idea that Heiko's fuel to deliver when playing darts is alcohol, but the toilet scene with the hidden bottle in there was still pretty hilarious. I am glad I watched this film and I am also glad it had some decent success and also made a pretty respectable sum of money apparently, probably much more than they expected and the film for me is closer to a "great" than to an "okay", but for now "good" summarizes it pretty nicely. I applaud everybody who worked on it, especially Galizia and Rohde, but also everybody who added their share in smaller positions. Don't miss out and go check this movie out, even if it is just on a television screen. You will not regret it.