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Strongman Ferdinand More at IMDbPro »Der starke Ferdinand (original title)

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

life of a fascist

10/10
Author: lechatalemot from planet earth
29 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A difficult film, with a kind of repugnant fascist security policeman as a "heroe", if a good film needs to open new realities in your mind this is one of the greatest even if it is hard to understand people like Ferdinand you can literally see his point of view in life and security, at the end he becomes a terrorist to prove that security measures for combat against terrorist are inefficient(very actual)is amazing that this film from 1976 deal with so modern facts, it's great that somebody like Kluge takes the point of view from the other side and made an extraordinary low key film. I truly recommend this film without expectations of any kind and open to go inside the shoes of a not your favorite character.

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Initially more promise, but ultimately the usual Kluge

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
18 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Der starke Ferdinand" is a West German German-language movie from 1976, so this one had its 40th anniversary last year. The writer and director is Alexander Kluge who is considered one of the most successful filmmakers from Germany during that era if we do not pay attention to the very biggest names (Herzog, Wenders, Schlöndorff, Fassbinder). Kluge's words are frequently extremely bleak and even if this one here is in color, it is no exception. This is mostly about the professional life of the title character, initially a police man, but when he realizes police methods do not go in hand with his personal approach he changes into the private sector. Things keep going awry for him though. The main character here is played by the late Heinz Schubert, known to most for being Ekel Alfred, and this film we have here is among his most known big screen performances and works as well. I am not really sure about his performance. He has moments when he is pretty good, but sometimes he is also as forgettable as the rest of the film. Anyway, he is still among the better components here and early on, it was pretty easy to care for what the character is doing. He is certainly more interesting than pretty much all the supporting characters as you can never be sure what he really feels or what he is going next. Passive aggression seems to be a big thing for him. Now beyond that, I was not really impressed with this film. And honestly, the longer it went the more difficult it was to pay attention to or really worry or care about any of the characters including Schubert's. I may be a bit biased here as Kluge never did too much for me also judging from the other films I've seen from him, but I cannot say this was an appealing watch and in my opinion the win at Cannes was a really crass wrong decision. I give "Strongman Ferdinand" a thumbs-down, even if it's neither a failure nor one of Kluge's weakest. Not recommended.

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