This enjoyably slick procedural thriller adapts Ferdinand von Schirach’s international bestseller. In Berlin, just three months after passing the bar, lawyer Caspar Leinen (Elyas M’Barek) agrees to defend ageing Italian murderer Fabrizio Collini (Franco Nero). In an unfortunate coincidence, Collini’s victim is German entrepreneur Hans Meyer (Manfred Zapatka), who was like a dad to Caspar growing up. To make matters worse, his legal opponent is his former professor, Dr Mattinger (Heiner Lauterbach).
The action moves between three timelines: 2001, when the main storyline is set; Caspar’s grainy, golden-hued childhood in the 1980s; and second world war-era Italy, the site of Collini’s motive. There’s a lot of dense plot and legal jargon to compress, but punchy editing ensures the film remains fast-paced and light on its feet.