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Film Review: “Dark Fortune” (2016) ★★★★


Being a psychiatrist doesn’t mean you have to be answerable for everything. That’s why when you invite someone to your office just to talk about the problem that your patient has, you better be prepared to not let those problems get into your mind. And the most important thing is to never form any kind of relationship with any patient ever, just to be safe.

In the middle of the night, psychologist Elaine Hess is called to a hospital to take care of an eight year old boy, Yves, who has just lost his parents and siblings in a very unfortunate car accident. Ellen doesn’t know that this assignment will change her entire life. She knows that the boy is traumatized. She is also well aware that he might go through a very strange and heartbreaking  journey inside his mind while she herself goes thorugh one as well. As she begins eliminating the boundaries with Yven, she finds herself in the midst of an argument with his relatives over his custody and the woman will have to make a decision that can put at risk her own family.

Set in the day of an eclipse, the opening scene takes us to a car with a blurry image. We hear some voices, even an argument but unable to hear in a way to determine the subject of the discussion. Then, seconds later, the car crashes on the highway. This is when we meet Elaine Hess when she’s at home, opening a box with the book called “The Isenheim Altar: A psycological study Masters Thesis by Elaine Hess”. She did not get a chance to open her own book when she received the phone call to come urgently to the Waid City Hospital in Zurich.

After meeting Yven, his aunt, and grandma, the woman realizes that there is more to the story of the Zanini family and each one of them has their own to tell. While it’s hard to determine for her who’s telling the truth, her examination of Yven and the result of it turns into a psycological challenge even for herself. As she learns about Yven’s abusive father, the mother that always wanted more from her husband, Elaine’s own troubles worsen with every minute that passes, resulting in a tense relationship with her daughters, and especially with Alice, who now, like never before needs her mother who’s now occupied with Yven.

“Dark Fortune” is based on Lukas Hartmann’s novel but written for the screen and directed by Stefan Haupt. The title itself describes well and delivers the nature of fortune the dark truth can reveal. In reality, there is always more into any story. Elaine is left to evaluate the boy’s psycological situation but when it comes to evaluating her own situation, there is no one else except herself that must make this life-changing move. While the performance from the entire cast is top level, the excellent writing and the direction by Stefan Haupt helps the viewer to put all the missing pieces together, after which one thing becomes obvious – every person has his own path to walk. Every family has its own story to share whether it’s good or bad. But what we do with it after facing it is fate, just like an inheritance that must be dealt in a very delicate way, the same way you see in Haupt’s movie.

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