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What to know: A different kind of action/adventure film with street kids who save the day.
EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 11-18
110 minutes
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EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES cover image Click to play video trailer
This movie follows the story of a young boy named Emil who has to take a trip to Berlin, Germany to stay with relatives while his dad recovers from a car accident. The shocking thing about his trip is that Emil has to go alone. While on the trip, he also wants to get his dad a new driver's license because the original is missing. Emil brings 1500 Euros to buy the license and to spend on his trip. He boards a train and finds a mysterious passenger that wants to befriend him. The man claims to know how to get a license for Emil. Shockingly, he drugs Emil and steals all his money. When Emil gets off the train he changes plans and decides to follow the man. Emil walks in an ally and then meets a bunch of kids with a craving for adventures. They all decide to help Emil get his money back. This is the exciting part of the movie, because they sneak around the city at the point where they almost get caught.

The plot of the movie is an instant classic because it follows a club of young kids trying to be adults to save the day. They all call themselves "detectives" because they help solve the city's mysteries. From eating at fancy restaurants to acting like secret celebrities, all the young actors portrayed it flawlessly. These are also some of the funniest part of the movie because they are clearly not the age they pretend to be. The moral of the movie is that kids do have power to fix things and save the day. The most intense part of the movie is when Emil is in the same room with the man from the train. Emil is nearly caught at every move trying to get his money back. The movie was filmed in 2001 thus the costumes are very rustic. I found the German setting spectacular with its iconic landmarks and interesting foods.

Overall the movie is full of adventure and also culturally interesting. I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars because the subtitles are a bit distracting. I would recommend this to kids ages 12 to 18 because Emil is drugged by drinking, travels and roams Germany all alone. This may be a common thing in Germany but would be disconcerting by Americans. The ending is funny and will be loved by all audience.

Patrick Nguyen, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Emil and the Detectives is about a boy named Emil that travels to Berlin alone. While on the train, Emil is robbed. Once in Berlin, he rallies the help of a group of kids to get his money back.

I enjoyed and found the film entertaining and thought it was realistic and believable. The story has many surprises and unexpected twists. It kept me guessing what would happen next and it is not predictable or boring. Emil is a very sensitive and loving son. He is brave and resourceful. Emil and his new-found friends are successful in catching the bad guy, bringing him to justice and being heroes and heroines.

The one thing that bothered me about this movie which is made for children was that it contained some vulgar language and profane gestures - more than thirteen curse words and one profane gesture. I also did not seeing drugs, alcohol and kidnapping in the movie. In contrast to these negatives, the story was captivating and the characters were fun and interesting. The acting on the part of children was very good.

I enjoyed the scene with the actors singing "Quasi-Rap/Rhyme" in German. The background music is fairly good, and the sound is realistic and not cheaply made. I enjoyed the mix of adventure, light romance, action and family connections this film contains.

This is a very entertaining and captivating foreign children's film with all its fun techniques of plot twists, character situations and events, music and overall good feelings. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. If not for the presence of profanity, tobacco, alcohol and drugs, I would have rated this film higher.

My favorite part was after the bad guy was apprehended by Emil and his "Detectives." Emil goes home to Stieglitz and discovers that his new detective friends had traveled there to spend time with him and have fun during fall vacation. Reviewed by Tyler Martin, age 14.

This film is very entertaining. The theme is about children taking control of their adult world. The unappealing part is some inappropriate language. It is appealing because it is different and the gang of street-wise kids are entertaining. The English subtitles may be annoying for some children. Kids will enjoy how it shows kids outsmarting adults. In the early part of the film, the young boy from a rural area meets up with a gang of city kids in Berlin. They all appear to be little street urchins with a variety of skills that eventually help them outsmart eh bad guy who drugged and stole the country kid's money. They all work together to capture the thief at the end.

The produce is well done with many action scenes. The character of the thief and his subordinate bad guys is almost comedic in the way they are costumed - ya gotta love the red snakeskin boots and briefcase.

This film is a fun and entertaining film although it doesn't start out that way. It brightens up as soon as the gang of street-wise kids come onto the scene. But, it becomes more than entertaining as the young detectives save the day. It shows teamwork, real friendship, helping your friends and that good prevails over evil. Criminals do not win at the end and Emil and his friend are true heroes.

Twelve-year-old Emil comes to Berlin to spend the holidays with friends, while his father is at home in the hospital. On his way, he meets the gangster Grundeis who steals all of Emil's money. But together with his new pal, Pony, and her gang of street-wise friends, Emil vows to catch the thief and deliver him to the police. In German with English subtitles.
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