Sunil's Blog – Mistico Indio

Ruminations of a poet and philosopher

My Left Foot- Today’s Film Review

Posted by Sunil on November 19, 2008

By Sunil Kumar


    1970s German angst is brought to the screen in an endless orgy of sex and violence.


From start to finish, the Baader-Meinhof Complex is an intriguing ride through ten years of post WWII West German history. Based on the German terrorist group, the Red Army Faction (RAF) that planned bombings, hijacks and kidnappings in the 60s and the 70s, the movie takes a long, hard look at life on the ‘dark side’ of the political divide.

The movie is a dramatic exposé of the life of Ulrike Meinhof, who worked originally as a left-wing journalist and was co-founder of the Red Army Faction(RAF). Although the movie is riveting in parts, it sometimes loses focus and becomes a sleaze fest. Balancing informative storytelling with commercial considerations is a tough ask for any art, but writer and producer Bernd Eichenger, somehow falls short.

A snapshot of the 60s and 70s, the ‘Baader-Meinhof’ complex makes an earnest attempt to capture the spirit of the era. Students in 1967 Berlin get their first lesson in police brutality when protesting against the Shah of Iran. The police are nonchalant and firing after a baton-charge by armed forces leaves a protester dead. This catalyses journalist Meinhof(Martina Gedeck) into action as she inches closer to firebrand leader Andreas Baader, played by Moritz Bleibtreu.

The movie plods on with nude beaches, hippy-chicks sunbathing in the desert and socialist arguments inspired by Mao Tse-Tung. Endless gore and violence tend to put off a discerning viewer. We don’t need a documentary, but more dramatic sequences like the Stammheim court trial in which Meinhof, Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader were tried would have added more zing to an endless montage of risqué visuals.

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