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I May Destroy You
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Just because a movie tackles important themes does not automatically turns it into a great movie. A great movie its made of dozens of things.
M by Fritz Lang is loved by the cinephiles because of the trial in the last 10 minutes, sadly the first hour has some troubled problems of pacing, there is no tension or sense of development. High praise to Peter Lorre performance and camera movement.
For years I tought the now iconic image of the guy looking backwards with the M on its coat was Orson Welles.
The killer face has been used in so many animations to represent sick, demented characters.
Before Orson Welles and Citizen Kane, Fritz Lang set the standard for what film-makers should strive for and what movies should be. "M" is brilliant.
Yes this was a little long, it dragged, but man is the ending so powerful. It's a funny thing how relevant this is decades later, this is truly a timeless part of cinema and I'm glad Criterion took this in. Now, on to more Fritz Lang.
A superb film in every sense. Cinematography, acting, directing, and a story that asks as many questions as it answers. Also surely an inspiration to other filmmakers and actors. For example, I even saw hints of Gollum in Peter Lorre's character towards the end of the film.
A brilliant film, worth watching today for its technical innovativeness as well as being psychologically interesting. There are many shots that I would wager appeared for the first time in this film, such as a shot that tracks through a store and then to the upper floor through a window. The crosscutting during the simultaneous meetings of the police and gangsters is genius. The use of sound is so natural that you wouldn't know this was Lang's first non-silent film.
If you haven't seen this masterpiece then watch it as soon as you can. It's an amazing example of German Expressionism and gives the audience a great mystery that would leave you on the edge of your seat for the whole runtime. Starring the legendary Peter Lorre (Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon) as the mysterious villain. This is one of the best early examples of film noir, and it's an amazing watch, check it out!
M (German: M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder— M – A City Searches for a Murderer) is a 1931 German thriller film directed by Fritz Lang 🍿
It's ok, but I feel mixed about this one 😉
I'd recommend it if you like this genre, but if not then probably give it a miss 👍🏼👎🏼
WHO IS THE MURDERER?
A precursor to all crime thrillers as a film noir!
Fritz Lang's German crime drama M (1931) is an innovative foray into the world of police investigation in order to catch a child predator. Lang's direction is striking because of how methodical his approach is for each scene. He chooses interesting angles, not to show off, but to give the audience another perspective into the scene. The crane shots, bird's eye view, low angle shots, and reflective mirror shots are all inventive and entertaining to see for such an early era film. M is a riveting investigation with meticulous detail and superb writing. Paul Falkenberg's matches images up to compare innocent children and the villain or law enforcement and law breakers. I like how slick and crafty Falkenberg's cuts are still as they feel fresh.
Peter Lorre delivers his finest and scariest performance as a child serial killer. Lorre's bulging eyes come in handy for his ungodly character Hans Beckert. His sudden wide eyed stare displays shock at a door being opened or a new young girl appearing for him to prey upon as he even rolls his eyes back in his head as he makes his defense case. Peter Lorre's squeaky voice pleads for his life as his kills are compulsory, yet still vile. Lorre is just one of those strange looking men who were born to portray these unique and interesting characters.
Likewise, Otto Wernicke is fun as Inspector Karl Lohmann. He puts together hard facts and seeks to find answers. Fritz Lang makes his character quite funny as all of the police are incompetant and need help from Gustaf Gründgens' sly Crime Boss Schranker.
Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou write emotionally intense sequences as grieving mothers feel just as devastating as plotting criminals. For M has an intriguing plot as we see not only the police investigate to catch a predator, but so too do we get a collective of criminal robbers collaborating to catch the child murderer in a delightful twist. Lang's direction is focused for all 117 minutes of M and he clearly thought out his carefully intricate narrative. The story itself and how it's written could have come out yesterday. I was engaged by the entire movie and it keeps getting better with Fritz Arno Wager's black and white cinematography shooting M in a way that sets up for films like The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man.
For Fritz Lang's first film in sound, he uses dead air and silence to amplify incoming noises of arrests, screams, whistles, or footsteps. Paul Falkenberg and Adolf Jansen's sound design is impeccable and rather odd for such a dark film. They make great use of M's lack of a score. Wilhelm Weber's make-up makes Peter Lorre look ghastly and unsettling. While every other character looks crisp and clean. In all, M is a phenomenally creative timeless film.
Cynical practicality and fear draw together two opposing elements of society in the gripping pursuit of a killer that can make the blood run cold with a few musical notes. Lang's thriller masterpiece and Lorre's best performance, kept perpetually fresh with sharp camerawork that heightens the impact of the narrative. (5/5)
I personally never thought that a film before the modern age of cinema would truly confuse and engage me so much simultaneously, and then I watched this wild fever dream of a movie. M (1931) was directed by the great Fritz Lang and stars Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, and Gustaf Grundgens in a gangster horror thriller of sorts. I'm gonna be honest, I don't really know what the hell happened in this movie for a ton of it, all I know is a freaking loved it. The suspense mounts so well around this killer, knowing that he's basically unbeatable, until the criminals of the town itself rise against him, and not only catch him, but hold him accountable for his crimes? Thats where this film blows my mind, as in some scenes its a prototype horror film, then a=five minutes pass and its a mobster cat and mouse chase, while it all winds up as a court thriller recapping the events stated before. Wow. That's storytelling man, that is some extremely great writing. Also there's something to be said for the fact that it's in German and I watched it with subtitles, which makes me even more impressed that I liked it so much, as that usually takes me out of a film but it only enhanced this one. Bravo.