The first hour is an engaging thriller, the second, a slow-burn chamber drama about why the thrill of the first isn’t a sustainable lifestyle. This major shift is The Edukators’ secret weapon, or so it thinks. The Edukators riles its audience by exposing its sharp edges early on in the film – its opening sequence, opening credits, and first act explores the silent rage at the heart of the film and its protagonists, yet by its conclusion, the image we’re left with doesn’t seem to be the knife with which the so-called Edukators cuts into their victims of the 1% with, but the shaky hands holding the blade.
For all its talk of revolution and how the disenfranchised should learn to strike back against their oppressors in the realm of class warfare, The Edukators confronts its audience and leads with the dead end that awaits those who blindly ascribe to the tactics of The Edukators in its first half – You either become a person willing to cross out of morally grey territory to incite the change you want to see, or you become a person who compromises his way into a better life, away from the epicenter of class tension and social divide.
The latter person is manifested in the eyes of the film’s main characters as Hardenberg, former-hippie-turned-businessman and class traitor whose house was the center of action during the heist-gone-wrong at the film’s turning point. Hardenberg, while never coming off as antagonistic during his shared screentime with the Edukators, serves as an antagonist for the characters not simply because of what he does (in Jule’s case), but what he represents for all of them: the idea that youth, activism, and the fight against a corrupt system won’t last forever, and they will have to face the choice of which person in the dichotomy mentioned above they’re going to have to be when their fight ends.
In a fitting twist, the film ends with The Edukators, in the style of the many meddling kids that came before them, get away with it, despite Hardenberg, who in another twist, changes his mind about his experience with the Edukators and reverts to ascribing to the privilege and justice of the system that benefits him while disempowering them. But the same way Hardenberg’s encounter with them haunts him, his own story leaves their pursuit of a new adventure with the underlying question: For how long?