Axolotl Overkill marks 24-year-old writer and director Helen Hegemann’s debut feature film. She has also written two novels, including Overkill’s source material, Axolotl Roadkill.
When smart-ass, chain-smoking, 16-year-old Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) isn’t in her principal’s office for being a smart-ass, chain-smoking, 16-year-old, you’ll probably find her drinking, clubbing or getting into “deep” conversations with her “grown-up” friends.
Mifti’s food fight with her lunch lady, Ophelia, an actress doing community service at the school, develops into a friendship that takes them into Berlin’s untamed nightlife. This leads to Mifti leaving home for days without telling her family, waking up in random places and eventually forging a romance with Alice, the ex-wife of the older guy Mifti dates but blows off to have sex with a cabbie. We discover Mifti’s mother died, and this, most likely, is her rebelling.
A lot of the film looks like a mix between an Elle Magazine fashion spread and a sexy cigarette ad, as Mifti gives us her best fuck-you face while lifting a ciggie to her lips.
As the film goes on, proving that Mifti is a wild child gets a bit repetitive.
Luckily, Overkill has some witty dialogue, surprisingly a few dance numbers, some decent acting and several surreal moments, like the one featuring the penguin below. And, of course, it has axolotls, the cartoon-looking Mexican amphibians you’ll find in exotic pet shops.
It’s not horrible, but you’ll see more memorable and relatable films at this year’s Sundance. You may just want to read the book, but if Good Reads reviews ring true, you may not.
Saturday, Jan. 21, 12:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
Sunday, Jan. 22, 9:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 3, SLC
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 12 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City
Friday, Jan. 27, 11:45 p.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City