The Testament of Dr. Mabuse Reviews
The ability to control people's minds, to bend them to one's will, to force them to be obedient or to die - it has elements from other movies of the day (Dr. Fu Manchu comes to mind), but it's particularly chilling here. As Mabuse puts it, "The ultimate purpose of crime is to establish the endless empire of crime. A state of complete insecurity and anarchy, founded upon the tainted ideals of a world doomed to annihilation. When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime." This is a true villain, and Lang makes the most of the story. The pace is excellent and never drags over its two hour run time. It's a sequel of course, but stands very well on its own, and is highly entertaining.
Compared to the first entry of the series - the magnificent Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler - Testament lacks the scope and finesse of the first film - although it had all the possibilities of sound.
Speaking of sound, compared to Lang's first sound film M, Testament is a step backwards with some really bad sound decisions that result annoying or misplaced sound effects.
I also found the perfectly crazy Rudolf Klein-Rogge who reprises his role as Dr. Mabuse underused. Instead the main characters are Professor Baum, the director of the asylum where Mabuse is incarcerated, Kent, a totally useless character in my eyes who seems to only exist to include a love story (the other part of the couple is Wera Liessem as Lilli, who is just really really bad) and Kommissar Lohmann (Otto Wernicke in a role he already played in M) who is arguably the most interesting character in the movie.
Dr. Mabuse films are mostly about the schemes of the main villains and although Testament is above-average compared to similar movies, we have all seen far better and more twisted movies.