When The Edukators starts out, we meet a young, idealistic man named Jan (Daniel Bruhn), standing in front of a shoe store trying to get his message out to the masses by forcing flyers on them as they come in and out of the business. It seems this store sells shoes made in sweatshops and he feels that it's his civic duty to inform the public about such practices, maybe hoping to make the world place but more likely just because he likes to stir stuff up.
Jan lives with his roommate, Peter (Stipe Erceg), and they spend their nights breaking into mansions in the rich part of town, never to steal but just to put a scare into the wealthy by rearranging their furniture and leaving them ominous and mildly threatening notes.
Peter's girlfriend, a poor student named Jule (Julia Jentsch), has a car accident and ends up having to pay out for the damage she did to the car of a man who can obviously afford to pay for it himself. She ends up moving in with the two boys after getting evicted when she can't pay her rent, and things seem okay at first until Peter is away more and more and it becomes obvious that Jan is interested in Jule. He doesn't want to have feelings for her, as he considers Peter his best friend, but he can't help it and soon her lets Jule know how he feels.
When Jule starts joining the two boys on their late night excursions into the homes of the rich, she formulates a plan that she puts into motion. In order to get back at the rich pig who made her pay for his car, she'll talk Jan into a little breaking and entering action at his place.
Bruhn and Erceg are really good together as the two male leads, they've got an obvious on screen chemistry together than makes their excursions fun and while you're not always convinced that these guys are completely into practicing what they preach, at least it's fun to watch them do their thing. Sadly, Jentsch's character has to show up and ruin it all and even more sadly, once the movie switches its focus to the love triangle aspect of things, it becomes a little less interesting and a lot more like a soap opera.
While the premise of the film is interesting as is the way that the story shows us how one small factor can change someone else's very ideals and beliefs, the execution misfires a few too many times for this one to really hold up. That being said, some of the more tense moments are nicely done and the movie has a great, sometimes intentionally primitive, look to it that somehow suits the anti-establishment tone that the lead characters are cramming down everyone's throats. The constant arguing between the three characters gets old fast, however, and while it seems to be going for some sort of Godard-esque dialogue, it ends up as slightly irritating.
In the end, the movie has some nice ideas, and a few worthwhile moments, but it doesn't life up to its aspirations and seems to get lost along the way…
The 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer shows a bit of grain in the darker scenes and in a few other scenes where it looks to be intentional but otherwise looks very clean and very nice. Black levels stay strong and deep, there aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts, and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. Flesh tones look lifelike and accurate and color definition is strong. The reds appear bold and bright but not so much as to bleed into the other colors at all. The Edukators looks really good, for the most part.
The audio on this DVD is also top notch, as MGM presents the film in a very nice Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix in its original German language with optional subtitles and closed captioning options available only in English. The bass is quite powerful and the mix really does a nice job of bringing the sound effects to life, even if this isn't an overly effects heavy mix in the first place. The score sounds very nice, and at times there is plenty of thump coming out of the subwoofer, and dialogue is always clean, clear, and very easy to follow without any traces of hiss or distortion. Overall though, the track sounds great. You won't have any issues understanding the dialogue, the score and effects are balanced nicely and the levels never seem over powering. Everything comes through loud and clear here, just as it should be.
Sadly, the only extra features that are on this DVD are some previews for unrelated DVD releases also available from Sony/MGM home entertainment.
The Edukators is an interesting movie with an interesting premise that ultimately gets buried in its own message and loses sight of itself along the way, despite some very good performances. MGM's DVD looks and sounds very nice, but there aren't any extras to note. Interested parties could do a lot worse than renting this one, but it doesn't have much in the way of replay value making a blind buy risky. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.