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The Baader Meinhof Complex (Widescreen Edition)
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Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the still fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold (Bruno Ganz). And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he s only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.
A subject of enduring fascination for Germans (and anybody interested in the more vivid manifestations of the '60s counterculture), the Baader Meinhof gang roared through Europe for years, dividing a population that either demonized or romanticized their exploits. In The Baader Meinhof Complex the goal for director Uli Medel (Last Exit to Brooklyn) and screenwriter Bernd Eichinger is to play the material down the middle: to portray the events of the outlaw group without deciding they are either heroes or terrorists. Some of the motives for the Baader Meinhof gang are laid out early on; for instance, that for the generation born in Germany after Hitler's nightmare had ended, a return to fascism was unacceptable--even to the point of guerrilla activities against the state. Some of Germany's biggest stars are involved in bringing the principals to life, including Moritz Bleibtreu (Run Lola Run) as the self-important ringleader Andreas Baader and Johanna Wokalek (North Face) as Gudrun Ensslin, his coconspirator and lover. The most intriguing narrative thread of the story comes from the decision by journalist Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck, from The Lives of Others) to leap from her stable life and abruptly join Baader and Ensslin on the run. The subversive activities of the Red Army Faction (as the group dubbed itself), including bombings and arson attacks, are chronicled in rapid, blunt fashion by the movie, which seems less interested in a thoughtful reflection on these incidents than in shoving them in your face. In that sense, you might begin to wish the movie had taken a side, just to provide some coherent perspective. As a rush of sensations, the film's appeal can't be denied, and it scored an Oscar nomination in the 2008 Best Foreign Language Film category. Although it runs two and a half hours, you might find yourself wishing for more screen time for the investigator (the great Bruno Ganz) tracking down the gang. His character has the gall to suggest that in trying to understand a terrorist group, it is advisable to trace back the roots of their motivations and attempt to grapple with those causes--an idea as unpopular in the 1970s as it always is. --Robert Horton
- MPAA rating : s_medR R (Restricted)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 4 Ounces
- Item model number : MPI7927DVD
- Director : Uli Edel
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 2 hours and 30 minutes
- Release date : March 30, 2010
- Actors : Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek, Bruno Ganz, Nadja Uhl
- Subtitles: : English
- Producers : Alessandro Passadore, Bernd Eichinger, Christine Rothe, Manuel Cuotemoc Malle
- Language : Unqualified
- Studio : Mpi Home Video
- ASIN : B0030Y1282
- Writers : Bernd Eichinger, Stefan Aust, Uli Edel
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #31,220 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The transfer here is near reference quality. Extremely film like and looks fantastic on my LG C8 OLED. This is one of the best films I’ve seen dealing with this early terrorist/anti-imperialist resistance (depending on how you view the world) period along with the excellent French made “Carlos The Jackal.” The cast is comprised of two of the finest German actors around in Gedeck and Bleibtreu and it remains highly entertaining until the third act which just isn’t as engaging as the majority of the film.
Sound quality (DTS HD MA) is as good as the picture quality for this sort of movie.
Finally I personally don’t buy the official version of events. I’m not going to spoil anything but others who know the story or have seen the film will know what I’m referring to.
Top reviews from other countries
The film is superbly acted, with standout performances by Moritz Bleibtreu, Martina Gedeck, Johanna Wokalek and Bruno Ganz. It is, in the end, a tale that explores disillusionment with the status quo and how efforts to fight for greater freedom and liberty can become twisted into terror and murder. This is a violent film, yet it makes for compelling viewing - especially knowing that it's based on actual events.
This movie is in German, with English subtitles. If you enjoy it, I also recommend The Lives of Others [DVD] [2006 ].
The strength here is that it tries to balance the views of the B-M-G against those of the representatives of the fledgling German state, managing a generally ‘fair’ balance while capturing some of the political differences within the group and highlights the cultural clashes and tensions between the middle class revolutionaries and the people they sought to represent and work with. The downside is that the characters are often portrayed as neurotic and disengaged from the world about them, also it fails to really distinguish the differing ‘generations’ that the B-M-G gave rise too, which intensified the B-M-G internal differences, even though they are mentioned and the failure to discuss the more violent Italian Red Brigades is a massive oversight.
The single disc opens to 2 trailers, the main menu offering play, scene selection and bonus [history in the making, on Uli Edel, the score, filmographies, trailer]. Rated 18 with scenes of full frontal nudity from the opening, concepts of free love, violence, profanity [including the much used ‘C’ word] this is bound to enrage some, as is the general subject but remains a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in student unrest and terrorism in the 20th century.
This is a well acted film BUT it came across to me as a film designed to promote Left Wing politics. Members of the Baader Meinhoff terrorist group were in reality a vicious and evil bunch of individuals who killed and maimed innocent people to achieve their own perverted political aims and should have been executed for their atrocities. It would have been better if they'd been buried in unmarked graves and forgotten.
Distinctly and precisely directed by German filmmaker Uli Edel, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints, draws an informative and involving portrayal of a German daughter, mother, sister and author named Ulrike Meinhof, a German daughter, mother, sister and trained elementary school teacher named Gudrun Ensslin and a German son, brother and father named Andreas Baader who met each other in the late 1960s, and who due to their common political views regarding imperialism, neo-fascism and authoritarianism started the first generation of the Baader-Meinhof group. While notable for its versatile milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by cinematographer Rainer Klausmann, production design by production designer Bernd Lepel and costume design by costume designer Birgit Missal, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about the history of terrorism in Germany and dehumanization as a result of ideological extremism which recreates a period in time with counterculture and cold-war when the former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany named Willy Brandt (1913-1992) was president of the Federal Republic of Germany, the eugenistic legislation in Sweden regarding compulsory sterilization was formally abolished and French actress Isabelle Carré was born, depicts some abridged studies of character and contains a timely score by composers Peter Hinderthür and Florian Tessloff.
This reflectively conversational, historic and cinematographic reconstruction of real events from the late 2000s which is set mostly in postwar Germany in the late 1960s and 1970s when German students who due to being German citizens were being blamed for the crimes committed by their parents` generation protested against a new emergency legislature in the former capital of West Germany called Bonn and Palestinian leader of the Fatah party Yasser Arafat was elected as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which chronicles the militant activities of the Red Army Faction and where collectivism surpasses individualism and turns into unjustifiable left-wing extremism whilst ones humanity is abandoned for a perceived greater cause, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development, rhythmic continuity, abrupt film editing, multiple perspectives, use of archival footage and reverently credible acting performances by German actor Moritz Bleibtreu and German actresses Martina Gedeck and Johanna Wokalek. A densely political, virtuously demystifying and atmospheric narrative feature.