Between Big Money and a Big Hoax: Because startups love telling stories about themselves, the media and cultural scene have been happy to tell stories about startups for years. From “Wolf Of Wall Street” and “The Big Short” to “Dopesick” and “The Dropout,” greedy characters can be portrayed in all their (sometimes few) aspects. Among documentaries, dramas, satire, comedy and fantasy, I’m at the end of a frustrating habit. Germany has recently been persuaded of this type by “bad banks” – and partly by “how to sell medicines online (quickly)”. From its creators, bildundtonfabrik of Cologne, who is also responsible for Jan Böhmermann’s “Neo Magazin Royale”, and specifically producer, model and lead author Philip Käßbohrer, a new series is now available on Netflix, which is shot once again on the level of absurdity: “The King of Stones”.
From Stock and Schtonk
The title “King of Stones” is a play on words. It’s pointing to stocks on the one hand, and of course Schtonk!, the 1992 Helmut Dietl comedy, which was about another major German fraud scandal. And that’s exactly what the six-part mini-series, Sharing and Fraud, is all about, specifically about Düsseldorf fintech startup Cablecash. Their CEO Magnus Kramer — exquisitely greasy, narcissistic and exaggerated played by Matthias Brandt — was a gray rat at former Networth and is now believed to be in the same class as Bezos, Musks and Cooks in this world. Investors and the media believe him. Felix Armand (Thomas Schubert) disagrees: A former programming nerd from Networth is now the mastermind of Cablecash, the button is in Kramer’s head and would like to become the second CEO, but Kramer stays small and gets his hands on Cablecash dirt under the rug. . There’s journalist Tom Welland, who exposes Cablecash’s links to the porn industry and criminal backers (one played weakly by Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht), Digital Minister Maletzki (Eva Löbau), who wants to improve Germany’s technological reputation abroad, the Italian mafia, a failed appearance at the World Economic Forum In Geneva, the hunt for Twitter followers and viral memes as well as a seemingly unnecessary romance at first with Sheila Williams, convincingly embodied by Larissa Sera Hearden aka singer Larry.
Apparently, based on the Wirecard scandal, the entertainment “King Of Stones”, staged by Konstantin Gruber, is about an initial public offering, ornate figures, inventor corporate clients, and auditors who become advisors and whistleblowers. Good, wide and well-known satire – O’Shea Glass, Joachim Kroll, Christian Trametz, Bibiana Berglau can be seen in the supporting roles, even a hip-hop “journalist” and microphone therapist, Rose is allowed to play a DJ – on the one hand, with all his excess, is shown as excessive. On the other hand, as an outsider, one suspects that the scandals that have been melted here are just the tip of the iceberg. Good irony is when you step up and there is truth in that.
Kramer acts as the hyperbole and homage to the old white man. As a carnival clown and wishful king. A sexist and patriarch celebrates trance binaries with his “dumb” workforce. Impostor hires the unsuspecting. Who brings raptors to the office. Whoever asks his teammates to “undress” after drinking matches. Who, without the Felix Armand button in his ear, insults a young activist in the same way the children of Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future have been insulted for years by a number of true climate change deniers and men of the “Flood After Me” (“It never worked!”, “No” Interrupt when adults are talking!” etc.). Whoever thinks he can get away with it all – and moderate spoilers, in fact get away with it all. At least as long as he has a backup. At a Rhenish carnival party, a colleague said the right thing about presidents like him: “Some have brains, some have a heart. Kramer has Felix Armand.” Who does a little better than the most obvious villain in this story.
And that’s also the conclusion after this fast-paced and sometimes disgusting first season of “King Of Stones”: in the end, the rich (and the bold) win. One wishes they had only seen a hard comedy and that the economy and job market actually work differently. As long as strong and greedy men sit in the boardrooms of this world and insist on their status quo, the turbo-charged pace of capitalism, we all race toward the abyss of the First World as we know it (from the second and third no. to mention) nothing changes. Until the last laugh got stuck in their throats.
“King Of Stones,” six episodes of approximately 46 minutes each, has been broadcasting on Netflix since July 6, 2022.