Set during the fading glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the film tells of the rise and fall of Alfred Redl (Brandauer), an ambitious young officer who proceeds up the ladder to become ... See full summary »
Set during the fading glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the film tells of the rise and fall of Alfred Redl (Brandauer), an ambitious young officer who proceeds up the ladder to become head of the Secret Police only to become ensnared in political deception. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
The film has an interesting (real) story to tell about the Austrian ruling class in the final days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, just before World War I. It does that by the focussing on the fortunes and misfortunes of its central character, Oberst Redl, a career-officer from comparatively humble origins.
The story is interesting, the performances are good, but this is still not a great film. Why? I often felt I was watching an adaptation of a stage play, e.g. the movie moves along at a very slow pace and is equally slow into getting us into the lead character. Moreover, I felt distracted by sets and costumes. Austrian uniforms from that period were very glamorous and so it is quite appropriate to use them, but the viewer is constantly subjected to all this glamour, distracting his or her attention from what the film really wants to say.
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