Chabrol's futuristic thriller, set in a still divided Berlin, turns out to be something of a folie de grandeur, flawed but fascinating. Dr Marsfeldt (Bates, playing like a Bond villain) is head of the omnipotent Mater Media corporation, and has his headquarters in a technology-filled back room of the 'Death' nightclub, where youngsters dance while mushroom clouds blossom on screens. Screens also fill the streets, the thousand faces of Sonja Vogler (Beals) inviting an increasingly suicidal populace to get away from it all at Theratos holiday camp. Detective Hartmann (Niklas) pads the mean polluted streets to fathom the rash of self-destruction. Chabrol's film, intended as a loose homage/reworking of Fritz Lang's proto-fascist master criminal Dr Mabuse, is at heart a sombre, timely meditation on our millenial, self-destructive instincts. Retained from Lang is the use of overawing architectural compositions, and his mix of silent serial, comic strip melodrama and expressionism. Less rewarding are a hopelessly difficult exposition, and the dial-a-country casting exigencies of the new Euro-productions.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Sollace Mitchell, Claude Chabrol|