A lore tainted with betrayal
The coming-of-age dark comedy Buba is a prequel to the German crime show “How to Sell Drugs Online”, but you don’t need to have watched that to enjoy this movie. The crime fiction tv show features Moritz Zimmerman, a youngster who sells drugs with the assistance of his companions. Consequently, they encounter various sketchy folks while practicing their criminal enterprise.
In the debut season, Jakob “Buba” Otto is the central antagonist; even though his story arc in the gloomy comedy show is completed, this movie fleshes out Buba’s life and background.
Given the success of the Netflix series, Buba dives deep into the life Jakob Otto. After his parents passed away in a car accident when he was a little boy, Jakob, often known as Buba, deliberately attempts to balance everything pleasant in his life with something terrible. To sustain the equilibrium of the highs and lows, he and his sibling Dante have used a technique for thirty years; a plan to make the former’s daily life miserable. However, all falls apart after Buba starts developing feelings for Jule.
The parallels to fairy tales in the opening scene and the importance of folklore in Buba’s character development instantly indicate that it is a satire on myth and karma believers. The film oscillates halfway between a modern fairy tale and satirical tragic humor.
The themes portrayed in this tragicomedy are flawlessly aligned with the storyline. Buba skilfully explores tragic themes such as childhood trauma and PTSD, and how these can mould an individual’s psyche and severely affect an individual’s personality.
This film also sheds light on how an unhealthy obsession with concepts can turn into superstitions which in turn could lead to the development of destructive behaviours. Although it goes out of its way to demonstrate this misconception – that “something terrible must happen when something good happens” – the lesson could be applied to modern-day superstitions as well. Such obsessions like zodiac signs, and how it can influence a person’s ability to make decisions, is one such example.
The cinematography and direction of the movie are of decent quality, and the final sequences where everything comes together feels like an impossible-to-execute gymnastics performance.
The ludicrous coming-of-age comedy has two outstanding German-speaking performers Bjarne Mädel and Georg Friedrich, both of whom succeed to portray the relatively one-dimensional and thus unusual roles beautifully. Their exceptional performances, paired with the compelling storyline, make this a good watch.
Buba’s secondary characters are disappointing though. The side characters, such as Jule, are mediocre, and while they aren’t horrible, they aren’t particularly noteworthy either. The mother-daughter tension in the movie is also an unnecessary inclusion, and it doesn’t add anything to the dramatic tension or narrative development.
The plot of the movie is like a classic Guy Ritchie action noir comedy. The storyline in Buba is well conceptualized and the portrayal of the themes likewise excellent. Unfortunately, a lack of memorable characters and some weak development hold this back from being a better title. Still, it’s a fun ride while it lasts.
Read More: Buba Ending Explained
Verdict - 7/10