In the not-too-distant future, Berlin is shocked by a series of spectacular suicides. A policeman's investigations lead him to a beautiful, enigmatic woman and the revelation of a sinister ...
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In the not-too-distant future, Berlin is shocked by a series of spectacular suicides. A policeman's investigations lead him to a beautiful, enigmatic woman and the revelation of a sinister plot to manipulate the population through mass hypnosis.
Director Claude Chabrol makes two in-joke references to Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922), of which this is another adaptation of the original novel: a trucker named "Rudi Klein-Rogge", after the actor who portrayed Mabuse in the 1922 movie, and a policeman who falsely gives his name as "Lang", after Director Fritz Lang. See more »
I quite liked this movie, and intend to watch it a few more times in order to peel off a few more of the layers of meaning Chabrol has woven together. I think most people would find the movie incomprehensible if they didn't know that this is a quasi-remake of Fritz Lang's 1922 masterpiece, "Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler". The "Dr. M" of the title is Chabrol's way of indicating that we are once again in the presence of the bad doctor - not just *a* villain, but THE villain, the ultimate bad guy, genius and madman. Marsfeldt/Mabuse is a pure nihilist in this outing; he's not trying to conquer the world, but to destroy it. His total contempt for humanity drives him to eradicate life wherever he can; he doesn't even bother with Hitler's excuse that he's clearing away the deadwood to make way for a master race. Marsfeldt wants nothing but death and destruction for their own sake. As usual, the plans of the criminal mastermind are disrupted by emotion - in this case, Marsfeldt's weakness for his adopted daughter, Sonja, which prevents him from eliminating her when she becomes a danger to his plans. Alan Bates plays the avuncular father-figure with a compelling creepiness; on the surface he's kind and concerned, but you can't help noticing that every time he touches her, his fingers seem to sink into her flesh like claws, and he kisses her with far too much intensity, leading Sonja to slightly shrink away every time he approaches her. His performance is the best, but Benoît Régent is also good as the high-strung Stieglitz, trapped in a job that's killing his soul, yet unable to disappoint his friend and partner Hartman by leaving. In the end, everyone is guilty to some extent, and only by acting and refusing to yield to despair are Sonja and Claus able to thwart Marsfeldt's plan.
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