One of the classes I’m taking this summer is Film Studies. It’s an elective that I have a curiosity about, at least in passing. I find the thoughts behind how a scene is composed fascinating, even if I’m not able to capture the effect myself. To that end, our first film review was for an early cinema piece called “M”.
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The movie is a kind of murder “thriller”. It revolves around the murder of a child and the manhunt by two groups to find the culprit. As an early piece of artistic cinema, it’s really interesting to see the application of some of the various methods used. Things like audio syncing between scenes, a (albeit shaky) through the window pan-in transition and more. The same sort of good storytelling that works here (in German, no less) works just as well in modern films, even if the process is more refined.
My Expectations About the Film “M”
I didn’t really expect the first film to be so good. Especially early works. I had seen things like Metropolis, which I didn’t care much for. This was really well done and had me shifting loyalty between different characters throughout the entire thing. The minor technical flubs (with audio and effects) can be overlooked, especially since the acting was so well done.
Fritz Lang cast Peter Lorre, a Hungarian-American actor, who did an absolutely incredible job playing a seemingly normal man with a very dark secret. Desperation, crazy, and horror are all incredibly well done. All of the principal cast in this movie are very good actors. I felt like there was little I had to do to suspend belief that they were really inhabiting their roles.
If you have a few hours to kill (and during this time, who doesn’t?), I would recommend taking a look at it. The subtitles are fairly well done, but despite that, the acting just sells it so well. I look forward to seeing the rest of the movies on the list.