Curveball (2020)

Cast: Sebastian Bloomberg, Virginia Kull, Michael Wittenborn, Dar Salim

Director: Johannes Naber

Synopsis:

Biological weapons expert Arndt is looking for evidence against Saddam Hussein when Iraqi refugee Curveball claims to have proprietary information. The German director satirizes the misinformation reports used to justify the bombing of Iraq in 2003. Halfway between a spy film and a stunning comedy, it’s, above all, “a true story, unfortunately”.

Length: 1h48

Review:

Led by a 100% German cast that’s little known internationally, Curveball had its French premiere last night at La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival. Let’s head back to the 2000s in Germany at the heart of a BND (German secret service) eager to prove its worth to the rest of the world.

Curveball is the nickname of Rafid Alwan, an Iraqi asylum seeker claiming to have worked in biological weapons factories. The BND is interested, as they want to wrench the case out of the CIA’s hands. This is why they contact Dr. Arndt Wolf, the leading German biological weapons expert. But the evidence, which had already been announced to foreign secret services, was false. The BND covers up the whole thing up but fires Dr. Wolf.

This is where the deception and incompetence of the German authorities kick in, who, despite having disseminated the false information to the other secret services, refuse to own up. However, this lie will influence the policies of other countries, especially after the attacks of 9/11 that left the United States devastated and got them wage a war against the Axis of evil. The elements become increasingly disproportionate and Arndt suffers the full brunt of the injustice… unlike his superiors.

This film is a constant confrontation between truth and justice. As CIA agent Leslie says, the truth does not matter as long as justice is done. This is unfortunately what happens in the end, CIA agents use the initial evidence that was denied: a simple drawing that they are going to exploit to create a tangible proof. Rafid and Arndt are two endearing people who could be described as anti-heroes. They are normal people who suffer, despite themselves, the consequences of something bigger and stronger than themselves (the German government).

Curveball is definitely a movie to see. It has a grotesque and absurd resonance to today’s events. This little-known but true story is brilliantly adapted. As scathing a critique as ever, this film is a questioning of our system: shall States lie to maintain peace, or shall they have to tell the truth in the face of potentially disastrous consequences. In a nutshell, this movie is just about an honest man in a dishonest world that is not about to change.

Mathias DELAFONTAINE

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