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New Release Review [VOD/Digital] - THE GROUND BENEATH MY FEET

The Ground Beneath My Feet review
A workaholic consultant begins to lose her grasp on reality.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Marie Kreutzer

Starring: Valerie Pachner, Pia Hierzegger, Mavie Hörbiger, Michelle Barthel, Marc Benjamin

The Ground Beneath My Feet poster


Ever get the feeling that time, just like water as it reaches the plughole, is actually speeding up; that in fact time is rapidly running out? Days go by in flashes, the weeks are a blur, and when you have a rare moment of reflection you are taken aback by how you got to that specific point; what hurried moments led up to that particular instant in your one and only life? It is an introspection which never lasts though, because, here we go, life is off again and yanking you along its hasty journey forever forwards. There are scientific explanations for this phenomenon, which, of course, often involve the amount of time we spend on social media eating away from our waking hours, etc, but also specify our highly caffeinated lifestyles. The feeling that we have to be constantly doing something, with no pause, no breaths taken. Personally, I think it all started to go to shit when they decided to open the shops on a Sunday…

The Ground Beneath My Feet review


Take beleaguered professional Lola (Valerie Pachner) in Marie Kreutzer’s psycho-drama The Ground Beneath My Feet. When she is not at the hard edge of commercial enterprise (working within ‘consultancy’ - the most amorphous and competitive of late capitalism’s corporate avenues) with its ‘breakfast for wimps’ late night/early mornings work place Darwinism, homegirl is pushing herself with an equally punishing exercise routine: running around Vienna at dawn (it ‘heals her soul’) and pounding the treadmill at night.

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Just what is she running from? Well, for starters, her poor older sister Conny (Pia Hierzegger), forty-something to Lola’s late twenties, is in a psychiatric ward following a suicide attempt/break down. With both women orphans, Lola is the sole carer for Conny. She doesn’t even let her colleagues in on the situation: preferring to lie and make excuses when she travels cross country to Conny’s hospital, a deception designed to save professional face in the dog-eat-dog business world. More pertinent than Conny’s situation, however, is the insinuation that Lola’s grasp on reality perhaps isn’t as strong as it should be either…

The Ground Beneath My Feet review


Imagine if Hitchcock did an office based thriller replete with his classic themes of identity, paranoia and misanthropy. Lola is platinum blonde, and she is having an affair with her boss (Mavie Hörbiger), who is her near-mirror image. The clandestine nature of the affair - kept quiet because of the heightened atmos of the workplace, and because, let's face it, it's more exciting that way - adds another layer of subterfuge to the occult office politics.

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The shifting of perception is deftly handled by Kreutzer, with such playful moments as a darkly neat visual joke involving a doctor at the hospital who turns out to actually be a patient, along with the scary revelation that, after too many desperate midnight phone calls from Conny, Lola contacts the hospital to complain only to be told that, no, Conny has not asked to use the phone since she has been admitted - yikes!

The Ground Beneath My Feet review


Pachner is the beating tachycardia of the film, offering a fascinatingly cryptic performance. She also looks the part too, her morphology of sharp angles matching the severe suits and fierce heels of the office uniform. It’s a shame then, that the weird opacity generated by the meticulously plotted early acts isn’t narratively borne out by the film’s final act, wherein a grim reality catches up with Lola and overwrites the film’s deliciously sinister ambiguity. The Ground Beneath My Feet’s sexy, unnerving atmosphere makes for compelling viewing throughout, but is, however, thinly stretched by the end of the film. The Ground Beneath My Feet is not an essential watch, but if you are a thriller fan, then it is worth your time.

The Ground Beneath My Feet is on UK VOD/Digital June 15th.




2020 movie reviews