Baader Meinhof Complex ignites history (1)

Explosions and bullet wounds punctuate The Baader Meinhof Complex's history lesson. Germany’s Oscar-nominated docudrama breathlessly depicts the impassioned leadership and terrorist acts of the eponymous gang of urban guerillas, also known as the Red Army Faction, or RAF. Director Uli Edel’s two-and-a-half hour epic moves at such a rapid pace that individuals and their stories can become a blur. The Baader Meinhof Complex features thrilling re-enactments of terrorist activities and an intriguing perspective on the life of an "anti-imperialist" extremist group.

The plot's strongest throughline recounts the radicalization of leftist journalist Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck), who turns from wife, mother and middle-class pundit to an accomplice and mouthpiece of a band of thieving fugitives. Alpha-male arsonist Andreas Baader (Run Lola Run’s Moritz Bleibtreu) exudes Brando-esque charisma despite his thuggish behavior. Meinhof, like the audience, focuses on Baader’s girlfriend Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek), whose raw sexuality goes a long way to sell her anti-establishment beliefs. In one scene, Gudrun welcomes a young recruit to the group by inviting him to share her bathtub. Gudrun’s example inspires Meinhof to take action beyond words, but their friendship frays during a prison stint in the film’s second half.

Continue Reading "Baader Meinhof Complex ignites history"

(Photo courtesy 2008 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH)