Friday, December 30, 2005

Metropolis (1927)

Shizat that's some expressionistic awesomeness!

Silent Action Drama Romance Sci-Fi Thriller (Germany)

Starring: Alfred Abel (Hitchcock's Mary; Murnau's The Grand Duke's Finances) Brigitte Helm

Directed By: Fritz Lang (M; Hangmen Also Die)

Overview: A wondrous utopia exists, built by men worked to the bone. When a new robot is built, capable of replacing them all, the Lord Of Metropolis conceives a sinister plot.

Acting: The acting ranged from deep and terrifying to base and farcical within seconds of one another. The overzealous melodrama detracted from what could have been more subtle realism. I don't think the acting was a metaphor to illustrate how exaggerated everything is, I think it was just classic overhamming.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: The vignetting was well done and the shadow effects added fear to the film. The camera work is good on it's own merit, not to mention brilliant for its era. There were terrific special effects, like the Robot transforming ray and the superimpositions. The professionalism of this is astounding, and though I could have used a bit more 'rule of thirds', I loved it.
Rating: 8

Script: The delivery was excellent. "Less is more" is the key to this one. We are clearly shown what's going on, and any instant where there was a question as to the continuity, there was a happy little dialogue box to explain the plot. Nothing spectacular, but effective.
Rating: 7

Plot: Amazing story. Yes, it ended too happy, but the story itself is clearly a well thought-out, nice full vision. Want proof? It was a flop in theaters, almost put the company out of business. Movies ahead of their time always do poorly. The story is solid and haunting while still moving on and remaining exciting, especially the second half, with the revolt and the drama.
Rating: 8

Mood: Without a doubt, one of the most amazing settings and concepts in any film ever made. The expanses of blackness (more paranoia-inducing than any closed-in room) are so vast that everyone seems like a cog in this sinister machine. The happy ending interfered with the overall bleak vision that would have made more logical sense, but Wow.
Rating: 9

Dude, there's totally robots in this. No think about it! 1927 genius!

Overall Rating: 76% (A Spectacle Of The Modern Age)

Aftertaste:The best anecdote I know about this film is that it's Hitler's favorite movie. When he came to power, he commissioned Lang to be 'Germany's Director', because Hitler loved the man's forward-thinking vision. Lang, aghast and terrified that Hitler had completely missed the point was on a plane the next day to America, fleeing Germany and the man who ruled there. What a great story. Can you tell I liked it better than the rating I gave it?
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: Number Five, and my favorite so far.