The Baader Meinhof Complex review

            Germany’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, and eventual nominee in the 2009 Academy Award ceremony, was The Baader Meinhof Complex. Unrelentless in both the presentation of facts and the amount of suspense fit into 150 minutes, The Baader Meinhof Complex is a compelling historical accounting for a gang of anarchists fighting against the German government in the 1970s. These were the children of the Nazi generation, determined to rob banks, kidnap and eventually murder in order to fight against their government doing something they don’t agree with.

            There was a sense of revolution in many parts of the world in the 1970s, and indeed the death of Ernesto Che Guevara makes an impact on the revolutionary terrorists in the Baader-Meinhof Gang. The U.S. imperialism and German capitalism is what infuriates this gang of revolutionaries, starting with acts of sabotage and theft. When a bank robbery is meant to leave the guards unharmed, one person brings a gun and changes the entire direction of the gang.

            The film has many characters and spans over a great length of time, but there are three central characters that the film returns to. Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) is a journalist with sympathetic views, and when she becomes involved in the revolution makes the decision to leave her children and husband for a life fighting as a criminal fighting against the government. She joins with lovers Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) in the acts of terrorism as they become the Red Army Faction.

            The film is well shot and well acted, but there is simply too much information to make sense to someone not already well acquainted with the history of Germany. The film comes together near the end when the three leaders are imprisoned and must find ways to still rebel. The final rebellion is an empty and unsentimental one, and like the rest of the film, there is no bias in the telling of the story. The facts are presented, and often that is enough to make a compelling story.

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