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TIFF 2018 Review: “Styx” (2018) ★★★★


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We don’t see movies like “Styx” every day. In fact, the subject matter it touches upon is one the cinematic world tries to avoid at any cost. And if it still manages to find a voice, then it happens only when an independent and courageous filmmaker begins bringing awareness to the issue through his/her film. After all, that’s why we are here. We need no fairy tales as drama is what we must pay attention to more.

“Styx” is a brilliant movie that provides food for thought. It begins with the strong and self-determined woman, Rieke (Susanne Wolff), who happens to be a doctor. She embarks herself on a journey to visit the untouched nature of a small island, but after finding a sinking boat full of refugees, the woman realizes the world she lives in is not known to her, as she is the only one who agrees to help them.

In the beginning, we find her very energetic when arriving at a car accident scene to provide first-aid to the man trapped in the car. She manages to save his life, of course. Loving the nature and the beauty it hides, the woman on her boat named Asa Grey sails toward the small island. After the stormy weather, she finds the big boat that is about to sink. The situation is disastrous. As soon as the refugees see her, they begin jumping overboard while some of them find themselves drowning. And when she asks for help, she was told through radio: “the company has strict rules when it comes to situations like this,” which in other words mean – let them die.

Rieke manages to save a little boy, who, same as her, is desperate to help people, especially his sister who he doesn’t know whether she’s alive or dead. That said, co-written by Wolfgang Fischer and Ika Kunzel, “Styx” is an eye-opening piece for anyone who has hopes for a better future. And it should certainly be seen by those who do not know what happens outside their viewing horizon. It’s an extremely educational movie, which is fictional, but does not require rocket science to realize what has been captured or examined in “Styx” is happening in the real world – in the world that has lost its sense of reality, is lacking in empathy and compassion. Sadly, Susanne Wolff’s Rieke had to learn it the hard way, which I sincerely hope, no one in real life ever has to go through.

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