Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Baader Meinhof Complex

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008) [5]

Given my interest in the Red Army Faction as a historical entity, it's a bit of a major disappointment that this film operates as a kinetic mix of violence, explosions, and sex with little regard for historical analysis. Everything in the film is apparently historically accurate but it sweeping scope, covering just about every major act the RAF pulled off from the late 60s to its leaders' suicides in the late 70s, leaves little room for analysis or solid character development. The character of Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleitbru) comes across more as an egotistical troublemaker than anyone with a sincere political agenda. The film also never dives into the character or Ulrike Meinhoff (one of the better performances of the film by Johanna Wokalek) until she is in prison awaiting trial. Her decision to leave her family and a prestigious journalism job to become a revolutionary is never shown well. It just happens as much of the film does, a series of events strung together through a haze of bullets, explosions, and breasts. It's amazing how much of this film feels like a standard Hollywood action picture, not just in what it shows but how it waters down the political and historical discourse the RAF wanted to create with simpleminded leftist slogans, almost stereotypical ones. What could have been a very interesting film ends up being a film really meant to offend no one politically, while dumbing down the history of RAF.

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