Is a pact a promise? And can a pact made in youth be binding in adulthood? This is the premise of A PACT (Zum Geburtstag).

Before the fall of the wall, a trio of tertiary students in East Germany, Georg, Anna and Paul, hang out together. Georg and Anna are an item and Paul lusts after Anna. Paul forges a love letter from Anna and shows it to Georg who relinquishes his relationship to Anna with the proviso he will want her back one day.

Fast forward to present day unified Germany and Paul and Anna are married with children. Paul’s workplace has just appointed a new boss. It is Georg. And he is pathologically bent on pursuing the pact.

What elevates A PACT from a tide of similar thrillers is the tributaries that this torrent of terror has, a river of retribution and revenge that twists and turns through personal history and the flotsam and jetsam of recent German history.

Denis Dercourt directs from his own script and it’s an economical exercise in betrayal, blackmail and nail biting suspense.