Der Bunker Blu-ray Review

Bizarre German movie is one of the year’s highlights

Only Germany could have produced such a delightfully twisted movie. Writer and director Nikias Chryssos crafts an eccentric tale of home schooling in Der Bunker. The first-time filmmaker makes a powerful statement with his film on German education and parenting. I hope anyway, don’t ask me to explain its fairy tale logic and surreal twists. That might ruin its carefully constructed world. The German-language film is the most interesting movie I’ve seen this year for its sheer originality.

Der Bunker crosses the charm of Wes Anderson with David Cronenberg’s bizarre perspective. A physics student, presumably in graduate school, rents a boarding room for peace and quiet. The room is little more than an isolated bunker in the woods of Germany. Known only as “the student,” actor Pit Bukowski superbly plays the student’s state of confusion. He’s a stranger in a strange world.

The student is living with his landlords while he works on research. The landlords are a creepy family that must be hiding something. This introduces the most surreal aspect of Der Bunker. The parents have an eight-year-old son named Klaus (Daniel Fripan), apparently being educated at home. That doesn’t sound strange until you learn Daniel Fripan is an actor in his thirties and looks it. The absurd casting is but one of many strange quirks in Der Bunker. I imagine some people have already checked out on the film after reading that line. Trust me, the casting is a masterstroke by Nikias Chryssos.

Director Nikias Chryssos should be proud of the movie he’s put together.

Things go from strange to absolutely weird as his parents demand the student begin tutoring their Klaus. You see, they claim he’s destined to become President of the United States. What dark secret is Klaus’ mother hiding from the student? Who is the mysterious Heinrich? The answers are beyond anything you’ll imagine.

You’ll either love or hate Der Bunker’s intricate, claustrophobic world. Director Nikias Chryssos should be proud of the movie he’s put together. It’s a powerful artistic statement that also happens to be entertaining. Constructed around the student and this bizarre German family, it crosses different genres with abandon. Everything from fantasy to horror is touched upon with a measured grace.

Der Bunker is thoughtful and compelling. Ultimately it’s a tale about childhood, education and parenting. How it gets there is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Funny, dark and even heartwarming, nothing can prepare you for Der Bunker. Sit back and enjoy its uniquely unsettling storytelling.

Der Bunker Blu-ray screen shot 12

Video

Artsploitation Films gives Der Bunker a fine presentation on Blu-ray. The independent German film doesn’t reek of being a low-budget movie. The video has sound production values. Filmed on the Arri Alexa camera, the carefully composed cinematography offers crisp picture quality.

The 88-minute main feature is presented at 1080P on a BD-25. The movie is shown at its intended 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Its decent AVC video encode handles the clean video without significant artifacts, smoothly replicating the movie’s digital intermediate.

Der Bunker has a carefully graded appearance. Its visual attributes are rock solid without pushing the envelope. Detail and definition are ordinary, if sharp in quality. Adequate black levels and a steady contrast work together in well-lit interiors.

Audio

I wish Artsploitation Films would learn what lossless audio on Blu-ray really entails. The included German soundtrack is heard in a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital choice at 512 kbps. This is a front-heavy mix. Dialogue is heard in perfect clarity. The soundtrack includes a number of famous classical pieces from Mozart and other luminaries. Dynamics offer decent range with average extension.

Optional English SDH subtitles display in a white font, inside the scope framing at all times.

Extras

Artsploitation Films includes a few notable special features. The deleted material is absolutely worth seeing after the movie and the commentary gives insight into this twisted movie.

Deleted Scenes (19:59 in HD with English subtitles) – Deleted scenes and outtakes are often thrown out because they aren’t very good. There is actual gold in a few of these deleted scenes, often as funny as anything in the movie proper. I might have included a couple of them in the final cut.

Director’s Commentary – Nikias Chryssos gives a solo commentary in English. This is a fascinating track to hear his influences and what he ripped off from other films. It’s an eclectic mix of Hollywood and other world movies.

Fever Trailer (00:51 in HD)

Observance Trailer (01:46 in HD)

The Perfect Husband Trailer (02:20 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not influenced DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Click on the images below for full-resolution 1080P screenshots taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered during the process. Patreon supporters are able to access these screens early, view them as .pngs, and gain access to exclusives.