We meet our main character once again but in very different conditions this time. From a dirty and noisy port, the viewer is moved to a luxurious apartment of an Austrian bourgeois of the 30s.
Philipp Stölzl, in general, uses antitheses throughout the whole movie with great pleasure – such as the crackle of headlights broken by pro-Nazis on Mr. Bartok and his wife's way to a dinner party that is instantly replaced with the clink of champagne glasses at a fancy evening. Josef Bartok's desire to take his wife to the "Swan Lake" ballet at the Vienna State Opera also gets twisted, as by the sound of the "Dance of the Little Swans" he is convulsively burning documents that have become the target of the fascist headquarters. The director juggles images and symbols in the film very skillfully creating an infinite symbolism through the smallest details. The Austrian flag falling from the roof, and the lines of the first Odyssey song, which are terribly similar to the circumstances the main character is living through, are just a small part of those little but significant components of which the film is constituted.
For refusing to share valuable data with the Nazi command, Josef Bartok gets arrested. However, he spends his imprisonment not in a prison cell, but in a Metropol hotel room. All alone.
Josef's only joy now is in a secretly kept book of chess games, which he sneaks into his room after one of the everlasting interrogations. It becomes the last thin thread that does not allow his mind to collapse and keeps Joseph from giving in to the psychological torture of the Gestapo.
Philipp Stölzl does not skimp on the abundant and sometimes unnecessarily graphic scenes of despair of the main character. We see how Josef's charm and arrogance slowly but surely evaporate under the onslaught of the fallen loneliness and what efforts it costs him not to lose himself. Oliver Masucci shows the peak of his acting skills in the movie: in a matter of minutes, he transforms from a gorgeous wealthy man to a lunatic. His portrayal of Josef Bartok evokes respect and pity, admiration for the power of the human spirit, and awe before the image of the martyr. Albrecht Schuch as the chief of the fascist headquarters in Vienna is another proof of the undoubtedly successful casting. He is unrelenting and charming like a psychopath, who corners a chosen victim, and like Oliver Masucci skillfully manages emotions, turning from a reasonable boss to a vicious fury within seconds. There is no doubt that the selection of actors was approached with great responsibility and it definitely deserves certain praise.