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Fritz Lang's first sound film offers a cutting commentary on society and criminal justice.
Universally relevant, M is part precursor to modern detective drama, part study of collective-manhunt mania.
The film sweeps from periods of paranoia and frustration through to frenzied confusion and over-policing, with a lot of sitting around tables stressing, shouting and (above all else) smoking, along the way. However, it's in its raw atmospherics and scenes of sustained silence that Lang's film really achieves its greatness; as it plays with its newfound medium to the full, even in introducing leitmotif to catch its killer.
In all it's a timeless triumph of early, experimental sound cinema, with bags of bite and an eye-popping Peter Lorre to boot.
An exceptional film in style, expressionism and direction. Peter Lorre is chilling as the child killer.
Rather slow by today's standards but I was surprised by its wit and satire. It's also great getting to see a younger Peter Lorre really knock a monologue out of the park towards the end. Overall, "M" is a nice prelude to the modern serial killer drama and one that holds up pretty well after all these years.
One of the best movies of all time, straight up. One of two movies ever made (with "Happiness") of a performance so affecting as a despicable child abuser that it evokes pity.
Powerful. I hope this never gets remade.
This was such a good movie, and a total surprise. I was impressed by how modern the techniques were for establishing the story, cutting from one scene to the next, and even the ethical issues raised by the narrative. Think a long, intricate episode of Law and Order: SVU, inexplicably filmed in time to be released in Germany in 1931.