Sunday, December 13, 2009

DER BAADER MEINHOF KOMPLEX (Uli Edel, 2008, Germany) Diseased rats spread the Black Death of terrorism, a pandemic that threatens the survival of our species as the sword becomes mightier than the word. Director Uli Edel focuses his contempt upon the Red Army Faction (RAF) with a narrative structure that divides the film into distinct halves: the first half follows Ulrike Meinhof, Andreas Baader, their dissosiative but charismatic cohorts and their superficial polemics as they commit murder and mayhem under the auspices of freedom and social enlightenment, the blood of human beings never staining their consciences; the final half depicts the ends to their means, spouting Marxist jargon while wasting away in prison, a pallid reflection of humanity whose punishment is fittingly applied, shedding the vapid glamour of violent wizardry. Edel’s film is not a documentary though he uses vintage television newsreels to heighten the drama and realism, but becomes an artistically subjective look into the lives of young men and women from bourgeois environments who became mass murderers. The film’s lightening pace introduces many characters and spends little time with introspection: a style that alludes to the casual and empty reasoning of the participants. The story allows emotional contact with Meinhof while keeping others at arm's length, but purposely fails to generate any empathy for her plight: her seduction is self-induced, and her pitiful end no worse than the innocent victims who died at her hands…or commands. The story is also a political travelogue, from terrorist training camps in Iraq to the napalm infused villages of Vietnam, vomitous rhetoric reasoning revolution at the muzzle of an Ak47. Though the story concerns late 1960s to mid 1970s German anarchists, Edel delineates the prescient plague of worldwide terrorism whose cancerous cells have yet to be eradicated. The Who stutters angst about My Generation while Baader, resurrecting Brando in THE WILD ONE (What are you rebelling against Johnny? Answer: Whaddya got?), bullets along the autobahn…but we’ve heard it all before because every generation has its growing pains. There is no sympathy for the devil in Edel’s celluloid judgment: the smell of Teen Spirit is always blowing on the wind. (B)

1 comment:

Alex DeLarge said...

Can I mix more music metaphors in my final sentence?? LoL