The Peacock [Der Pfau] — German Film Festival 2023

Review by John P. Harvey.

The Peacock opens with several mysteries that threaten to coalesce.  A weekend workshop retreat that the boss, Linda (Lavinia Wilson), has organised to help the upper management staff of a German company through a takeover by a Scottish firm is booked at what promises to be a cosy country estate in Scotland.  Linda faces challenges from the outset when first one organiser and then another fails to show up and instead a stranger, Rebecca (Svenja Jung), arrives and takes over the workshop’s facilitation.

This is enough uncertainty and strife for Linda, but there’s more: when she thinks her own dog, Anshu (played by the real-life Anshu), has killed the local peacock, she delegates to the most junior manager the task of disposing of the evidence.  But there’s disposal, and then there’s… disaster, leaving the confused mystery of the ultimate fate of the peacock.  And then there’s the mystery of who may be facing the axe upon completion of the takeover.  And who on Earth can figure out what the constantly challenging Rebeca wants?

Though this film maintains a degree of tension, setting up half a dozen characters in competition with one another and stranding them in a game of uncertain rules and no wireless-telephony reception, it does so playfully; about two-thirds drama and one-quarter comedy, it is perhaps one-twelfth thriller.  Do chickens come home to roost?  Certainly.  Do the bad suffer and and the good consume the fruits of their ethics?  Well, that would be telling.  But it’s amusing to see the paths that this cohort of incompatible characters takes to arrive at those telling moments.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

Liked it? Take a second to support John P. Harvey on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply