CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"The Baader Meinhoff Complex" is a simple police procedural

Nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign movie in 2008, **The Baader Meinhof Complex** is a first rate spy thriller that is part horror movie. The horror reveals the seed of modern terrorism and how it relates to world events today.

**The Baader Meinhof Complex** begins innocently enough, the opening shot features a German family vacationing on a nude beach. We meet Urike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck), a mother of twin girls and married to a philandering husband. Meinhof is a writer who meets blond Gudrun (Johanna Wokalek) in a courthouse.

Gudrun is associated with Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), a campus radical who believes that America is an imperialistic nation, Besides disliking Israel, Baader wants a world wide revolution and he leads street protests. After a series of violent encounters with law enforcement, Baader and his gang end up in court.

Meinhof writes sympathetic articles about Baader and develops a close attachment to Gudrun. Meinhof absorbs the idealism of Baader and the Baader Meinhoff Complex is established. The Baader Meinhoff Complex seeks to revolution through the advancement of their agenda. Seeing themselves as intellectual freedom fighters, Baader, Meinhof and Gudrun mastermind attacks upon western icons and symbols.

Instead of bringing forth worldwide revolution, the Baader Meinhoff Complex become hunted criminals. Eventually the Baader Meinhof gang is rounded up and put on trial. While incarcerated, the urban legends and conspiracy theories about the Baader Meinhoff Complex grow from within prison walls.

**The Baader Meinhoff Complex** works as an objective police procedural. Director Uli Edel lets the story unfold with minimal fuss. One forgets that **The Baader Meinhoff Complex** is a German film with English subtitles. English is spoken in a few pivotal scenes and the effect is disturbing. While resting in Sicily, the Germans from the Baader Meinhof complex seek an alliance with some Arabs from the Middle East. The only language in which these two cultures can communicate with is English, the language of their enemy.

A subtle scene between the Germans and the Arabs reveal why these violent political revolutions always end up in the sewage of history. While both parties unite because of a common enemy (U.S.A.), their individual cultures create blatant barriers. This is best exemplified when the Germans go on strike due to the harsh boot camp training of the Arab soldiers.

When the Arab drill sergeant goes to find his AWOL soldiers, the German recruits are seen on the roof of a building, sun bathing in the nude. For a man who lives in a country where women wear veils, the Arab is shocked by the behavior of these European women. Gudrun replies;
“You can't have a revolution without sexual liberation!”

Thus the consistent failure of these self described revolutionaries, their dreams of world peace is often limited to their own selfish perspective
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