I expected more from this Academy- and Golden-Globe-Awards-nominated movie. Not even Moritz Bleibtreu (Run Lola Run, Das Experiment) could save it.
The Baader Meinhof Complex tells the story of the Red Army Faction (RAF), a terrorist group who in the 1960s and ‘70s wreaked havoc in Germany in response to the country’s anti-Palestinian stance and pro-Israeli backing and the support of America in the Vietnam War. Post-WWII-German youth were determined to end what they saw as the new evolution of Fascism. They used force and violence and, ultimately, became that which they opposed. The RAF was able to gain support and strength across continents.
The problems I had began with Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck), left-wing journalist, mother and spouse. As an anti-establishment writer, she meets politically radical couple Andreas Baader (Bleibtreu) and Gundrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) and soon, the three form the RAF.
I never felt Meinhof’s passion. One day she declares she could “never leave her children,” then, she’s on the run with the group. Her transition isn’t visible; instead you are fed what you are to believe. Next, you have the frequent additions/changes in faction members. Many resemble one another and it’s confusing keeping square who’s who. And, few of them reflect on the situation and what they want to see idealogically. They rob banks and bomb buildings. Explosions escalate into shootings, kidnappings and assassinations. Once they are incarcerated, they hunger strike, crumble in solitary confinement and, as their demands are met, you begin seeing what they are like as individuals, while the group on the outside start losing the fight. The trial is a circus (and drags out the plot). In the end, the RAF crumbles under in-fighting and a weakening core. The topic is thought-provoking, but the movie is a drawn out disappointment.
Director: Uli Edel
Run time: 150 minutes