A taut, German-made thriller, Jerichow adds a bit of European xenophobia to the pulp traditions of passion and betrayal. Smartly done by Christian Petzold, this James M. Cain-style noir serves up a classic triangle: an alluring, unhappy wife (Nina Hoss), a piggish husband (Hilmi Sözer), and the handsome loner (Benno Fürmann) who can't help himself - and does.
Set in the farm country of eastern Germany, and shot so that a wide blue sky arcs over the characters, emphasizing their insignificance, Jerichow (the title is the name of a town) introduces the loner first: Fürmann's Thomas is a terse, steely guy, dishonorably discharged from the army. (We never learn why.) His mother has just died, leaving him a ramshackle house but no money. Thomas is broke.