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Tough Enough Review

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When his mother splits up with her wealthy lover, 15-year-old Michael finds himself involved in a revenge burglary which leads to a shaky relationship with a dodgy drug dealer.

★★★★★

Actor-director Detlev Buck has tended to specialise in comedies. But he shifts gear with this streetwise rites-of-passage drama set in Berlin’s rundown Neukölln district, which uncompromisingly explores the socio-cultural problems that have dogged Germany since unification in 1990.

Evicted from his luxury apartment by mother Jenny Elvers-Elbertzhagen’s doctor boyfriend, teenager David Kross gets even by joining his new Turkish buddies on a retributive robbery. However, he’s soon lured into a darker underworld by local drug baron Erhan Emre, who offers him protection in return for some couriering.

Buck keeps the action low-key and credible and bolsters it with a gallery of vivid characters.

Director Detlev Buck may be well versed in comedies but he manages to pull off a neat little drama thanks to some credible performances.