A man tours clubs around the globe with his manager and girlfriend. On the eve of their largest album release he is admitted to a psychiatric clinic after overdosing at a gig.
User Reviews: "Berlin Calling" is an ambitious film that looks into the dark side of the German electronic music but doesn’t seem to know what to say about it. Director Hannes Stohr makes a wise move in casting real life electronic musician Paul Kalkbrenner in the lead role of (the overbearingly metaphorically named) DJ Ikarus.
On the cusp of releasing his greatest record Ikarus succumbs to the effects of his longtime drug use and is admitted into a psych ward. From here, the film veers wildly in tone recalling the excesses of "Trainspotting" and the tension of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest" without ever find a middleground. Subplots involving a teenage fan who works at the hospital; his on again/off again bisexual girlfriend and his dealer never really develop into anything substantial. Worse, Stohr doesn’t seem to know what he wants to say about drug use. Is it necessary for creative artists? Is it an evil? Is it OK in small doses? He offers middling cases for each scenario but doesn’t make any unique observations.
That said, the music in the film is fantastic. Written by Kalkbrenner himself, it casts a great light on the contemporary German electronic scene and if there is any reason to see the film, it’s for the music. He manages to make the subtle shifts in tone and mood accessible for even the casual music fan which is a feat in itself.