To "paint it black from the rolling stones the camera turns around the 17 year old leading lady ruby O. Fairy, whose sad face reflects the misery of a messed-up childhood. In the "crime scene heibt sie sarah baumbach, 13 years old, precocious, upbeat from a broken and criminal home. In the private youth center "klaus’haus" she is said to have knocked down a social worker and then drowned in a toilet bowl – at least that’s what she says herself. The commissioners thorsten lannert (richy muller) and sebastian bootz (felix klare) have their doubts, though. They think sarah is trying to protect someone, after all, she is still punitive because of her age. "Happy birthday sarah" is an atmospheric, moving and in places comical film about love and the longing for social advancement.
Richy muller reads the crime scene "hart an der grenze" (hard on the border). Order here
Director oliver kienle and author wolfgang stauch send their investigators into a socially weak and isolated milieu. Sarah lives with her sister and her sister’s violent boyfriend in a high-rise housing estate. Threats and violence are the order of the day. Sarah escapes the chaos and shouting by plugging in her ipod and turning it up full blast. The viewer then also only hears music, sees the environment isolated from the eyes of the young girl. Her only confidant is frank schollhammer, whose foundation was actually supposed to finance the youth center. The rich heritage of the founder of "klaus’haus regularly invites young people and caregivers to its villa, where it woos them with rough gestures. The commissioners suspect that schollhammer, played in a wonderfully self-absorbed and sly manner by patrick von blume, is creatively diverting the foundation money intended for the youth center into other directions.
Commissioner bootz’s new single life is illuminated without any major breaks in the plot. After his wife separated from him in the last episode, he is now trying to reorganize his life. Reconciling his role as part-time father on call with his job proves to be a major obstacle.
So that it doesn’t become too depressing and sultry between milieu study and love drama, small gags loosen up the plot again and again. The murder mentioned at the beginning – caused by repeated use of the toilet – already reveals comedic potential. Bootz, in his pain of separation, philosophizes that he would have liked to punch his rival, but that this was "not politically correct" because of his handicap merchandise. The best protection against a murderous dog named rambo is to protect him with a "hallole" to animate to man up. And sarah’s sister’s violent boyfriend is so entertaining it’s as if he’s been borrowed from an RTL reality format.
In view of the subject matter, this "tatort" could easily have could easily get lost in cliches, but apart from a few slips – such as lannert’s excursion into social pedagogy or the meeting of public prosecutor emilia alvarez with an old acquaintance – the people responsible at SWR avoid any major embarrassments. The otherwise somewhat staid and stiff swabians surprise in the 13th round. Lannert and bootz’s film is a thrilling and coherent mix of crime and social drama with excellent leading actors right up to the end.