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Like all German expressionistic films of the era, Der Golem benefits greatly from it's style. The sets, the lighting, the atmosphere, the music and everything make sure that the film always has a nice setting to work it's story from and as a big of fan of atmosphere anyway, I found this to be a very favourable aspect of the movie. However, for a movie to truly work it must find a happy medium between it's style and it's substance, and although the story behind Der Golem certainly has some meaning and a message behind it, it is not portrayed in a way that is interesting enough to keep itself afloat, and that is the film's primary downfall. The plot follows a Rabbi who creates a giant figure out of clay (the Golem), which he plans to breathe life into by way of an evil god. However, the Rabbi's assistant has other plans for the Golem, and sets about ordering it to carry out criminal acts, including the kidnapping of it's creator's daughter; Miriam.
I'm sure you'll agree that the plot line gives the film a nice base to work from, and it's certainly intriguing enough to ensure that The Golem will always be an interesting film; but the film runs too long, and there isn't enough of the plot to stretch for the full running time. It's a shame because with a little bit more meat on the plot, the film could have been really great. One thing that you will notice about The Golem is the music, which plays almost throughout the film; and presents it with a very nice style, that sets just the right atmosphere for the movie. The lighting is another prime aspect of the movie, and it is a good example of the style of film-making at the time that this movie was produced. Acting in silent movies is rather hard to judge, but I didn't notice any problems with it and it's about what you'd expect from a film made in the era that The Golem was made. The Golem itself looks a little silly, but come on; the film is eighty-five years old! On the whole, I recommend this movie for people who like this sort of film; but I'd certainly recommend Faust, Nosferatu and Das Kabinett before it.
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