Friday, November 6, 2009

Bad Times at Baader Meinhof

Amidst Student Protests, the Red Army Faction Arises

The 1960s were giddy, exciting, heady times. There was a lot of really nasty stuff going on too.
Foremost in that category was the Vietnam War. As the body count escalated, so did worldwide protests, and with the protests, violence and death.
"Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" is a 2008 German film that depicts one of the most extreme reactions against the war: the Red Army Faction.
"Baader Meinhof" begins almost idyllically at the seaside, with children and adults frolicking nude, without shame.
Then it is announced the Shah of Iran is coming to Germany with his wife.
A parade in their honor erupts into a riot. The violence is orchestrated by beautiful Ulrike Meinhor (Martina Gedeck) and handsome Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), leaders of the loosely-knit Red Army Faction.
College-age radicals thought the RAF was cool stuff: a bunch of beautiful, young people gallantly fighting the forces of opression everywhere.
But when the son of the former chief federal proscecutor is assassinated, things take an ugly turn.
The RAF wants to torch oil fields, punish corporations, fight on the side of Ho Chi Minh and eliminate opposition to their radical leaders.
More murders and mindless violence follow, including a creepy association with the Black September terrorists who massacred 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
While this stuff may or may not have been true, it certainly isn't very pleasant to watch, and director Uli Edel drags out the story and its inevitable conclusion for two and a half hours. No matter how sexy or handsome these radical dead-enders were, they were scheming, cold-blooded murderers, no better than the purported forces of evil they fought.

Two stars

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