The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All) Reviews

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October 7, 2017
I could not sit through it, the acting seemingly off. The subject was not all that enigmatic. I flew through the dvd. The stories of children found from the forests, are more enticing.
July 25, 2017
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) is often considered to rival Aguirre, Wrath of God as Werner Herzog's greatest film - and it's easy to see why. Kaspar Hauser is about a man of the same name, who mysteriously arrives in Nuremberg bearing a note without the ability to walk or talk. Kaspar Hauser takes audiences' initial impression of the main character as a psychologically undeveloped individual, and flips it on its head. It relies on the audience viewing Kaspar as 'crazy', and utilises that conception to poke fun at crazier aspects of human relations and society. In-so-doing, Kaspar becomes the literal-thinking albeit practical character to which the audience can relate & root for. It's all so clever; the admiration that Herzog had for Kaspar Hauser as a person gradually reveals itself as the film progresses, and the audience are encouraged to view the character in the same light. Kaspar Hauser subverts exceptions at every turn. It challenges both prejudice in 1800s society and prejudice from its audience to some degree. Kaspar Hauser moves at an appropriately steady pace and couldn't be better aesthetically. Its simple cinematography allows optimal investment in the characters and story - and look out for the clever nature imagery. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser is simple, clever and astoundingly powerful. It's a masterpiece - please don't miss it.
½ June 21, 2017
Werner Herzog is often more notorious as a personality than his pictures & although this was a critical success is was difficult to engage with with its strange pace.

The story of held captive in a cave for 15-20 years & then released in a rural German town with no further information.

The film largely follows his difficulties connecting with others & general intelligence but as he gathers momentum so does his intelligence. Interesting but a little dull.
April 24, 2017
I'm a little biased on this one.
April 8, 2017
A Great Herzog movie about the story of a man with a pure mind confronting the biased and 'logical' world of enlightened people. As always themes covered in this film are metaphysical.
½ January 19, 2017
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser is a brilliant accomplishment on Werner Herzog's filmography, raising thought-provoking, intelligent anthropological issues.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2016
A curious little film.
½ January 25, 2016
Well, it seems to me that my coming into this world was a terrible hard fall.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
Kaspar Hauser is fascinating. The film is rife with symbolism that one can just as well leave open. Indeed, the original story is itself mysterious. The villagers struggle to understand Hauser, he struggles to understand them, but the viewer does not have to struggle through the film. The production values and transfer are low, especially by today's standards, but the performance more than makes up for that.
September 28, 2015
Absolutely wonderful and heartfelt. A very humanist movie and one of Herzog's best. Herzog has to be one of the all time best directors
January 5, 2015
Without question "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" needs to be seen twice to fully appreciate.
October 29, 2014
For a film titled the Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, there's very little enigma discussed in the film. It feels like a missed opportunity.

The film tells the true story of Kaspar Hauser, a teenager who showed up one day in a town in Germany, holding a note saying he wants to be in the cavalry, like his father was. His father's name, nor any other details are given.

Kaspar Hauser is played by Bruno S, who does giver a very good performance as Hauser. The way Bruno S uses his body to convey that simple tasks, such as walking and holding a spoon the right way, are difficult for him, is truly incredible. Bruno S injects Hauser with the right sense of mystery and the right sense of needing to be re-taught how to ride a bike, so to speak.

As mentioned earlier, there's very little enigma discussed. Sure, it gets mentioned, but these mentions feel like throwaway lines, such as when various town officials are addressing rumors he could be an illegitimate heir to Baden ( a province in Germany) or an illegitimate heir to Napoleon.

Werner Herzog seems completely uninterested in presenting the film as a mystery. Instead, he opts for something more philosophical. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but shouldn't a film with the word enigma in the title actually discuss an enigma?
October 15, 2013
Schleinstein's performance is initially repulsive (I feared he'd gone full retard), but his halting, oblivious delivery becomes somewhat fascinating and endearing. The film is another victim of an ugly standard definition DVD transfer, but it has a certain beauty to it regardless.
½ October 3, 2013
A fantastic film that provides insight on the challenge of theology, the evolution of thought, and the growing society that envelopes it. The script is near-perfect and Kaspar Hauser is one character you won't find easy to forget.
August 30, 2013
Herzog at his best: bold, lyrical and profound. This is a beautiful art cinema about an uncanny individual.
½ August 8, 2013
"Well, it seems to me that my coming into this world was a terribly hard fall."

In Hauser, Herzog found the necessary vehicle to show how (I quote a critic here) "the drive toward domestication is the drive toward death". In reality, Hauser's story is more mystery than meaning but here Herzog and Hauser give us a clearer image of Hauser that allows the story to develop with its own personality as opposed to simply being a re-hashing of old events. It isn't however perfect- it's more faithful to the real story than it needs to be and we are left with some of the same unknowns that the true story has. To me, these feel separate from the meaning and spirit of the film and weaken what is otherwise, a strong offering from Herzog.

It lacks the stand-out scenes that Herzog is so known for- here they are replaced with a full story and thus a more conventional film structure-wise than his works beforehand but the subject matter is as odd as what you'd expect from Herzog and the points being made are also right out of his mind. The humour is there too and it does a great job in stopping this from ever feeling like a stuffy period piece.

Herzog's critiquing is in full swing here and Hauser allows the points to be made in a truly memorable way. Yet again Herzog manages to fit himself in here fully without ever making it feel like he is pushing us, breathing down our neck or holding our hands to get to where he wants to go. It's a pity that there was a real Hauser as Herzog clearly stuck to true events for a lot of this but this film didn't need that- Hauser never needed to be real historically, the performance by Bruno S. made him real and the supporting cast made Herzog's reality of this world, our one too- we didn't need the added confusion of learning the mysteries around the real Hauser's existence and even if we wanted that, this film views Hauser's claims at face value when they were likely lies- that makes Hauser an even more fascinating character to study, but it's not what this film is about, nor should it be.

Herzog would have had all that he needed with any abandoned child, choosing a real one feels like an uncharacteristic (this is the guy who straight up makes things up in documentaries!) blunder by Herzog.

Recommended to anyone, Herzog fan or not- it is accessible and easy to watch but has worthwhile things behind the surface to consider. More time could have been spent on developing points though rather than including elements from the real Kaspar Hauser's story.
July 10, 2013
I know this is a classic; I enjoyed it but can't honestly say I got everything from it that is described above by Hal Erickson. If anything it seemed like an inquisitive look into human development and nature vs. nurture, but without any conclusions...
June 22, 2013
So great. Loved this movie.
June 17, 2013
An interesting study in Kantian perception. Although, I don't know that it's very realistically portrayed (like Truffault's Wild Child). He learns too quickly. And clergy tend to be portrayed quite one-dimensionally. It is rather intriguing, but there is some hollowness in a few characters. The main actor was very good. Could have been a slightly more satisfying ending, however.
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