“Where the Woods End” is a timely and evocative short film capturing the dangers and decision making of police officers and the instantaneous altering of lives due to one event. These issues are in the mainstream media each and every day, and co-writers Felix Ahrensand Lucas Flasch capture the intensity and emotion on every level to give us a nail-biting yet sympathetic tale of an innocent life lost and the woman responsible.
The young police officer Elke (Henrike von Kulck) and her partner Armin (Tom Keune) make a routine stop near the Czech border. As the driver of the car flees, the passenger is detained by Officer Armin. Officer Elke pursues the young man on foot, through the woods, when she is placed in a situation that is unnerving and ultimately she fires her gun. The result is the death of this young man. The consequences are far-reaching as she attempts to not only justify her actions, but deal with the remorse and guilt she feels. Self-preservation on every level comes into play.
“Where the Woods End” has you on the edge of your seat from the opening scene, creating an ominous intensity that is palpable. There is the constant feeling of waiting for the next shoe to drop as we watch the story unfold. In 30 short yet powerful minutes, we are plunged into danger and the complex human reaction and consequences. We get to know and understand Elke as well as the family of the victim. We are consumed and sometimes disagree with her reactions, yet we completely understand them. To portray this level of human psychology is nothing short of extraordinary.
von Kulck’s performance as the young female officer Elke is also remarkable as we somehow identify with her character as she struggles and reacts. von Kulck elicits empathy and judgment, crediting not only her skills as an actor, but also the deft writing and directing. The entire small, but extremely talented cast gives us a profoundly deep and suspenseful story that sticks with you long after the credits roll. To augment these emotional performances, the cinematography skillfully captures each scene, allowing the viewer to truly feel and see the world through the character’s eyes. There’s not one element of filmmaking missing in this thriller.
“Where the Woods End” is an intense and intriguing drama that is captivating intellectually, emotionally and visually. With its social relevance of police killings and the emotional ramifications on both sides, this film might just be a fictional work of realistic art that will keep your heart pounding and your mind reeling.