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3 user 13 critic

The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich (2012)

At the end of his life, Wilhelm Reich - psychiatrist and experimental scientist searching for the fundamentals of life - finds himself on trial, charged with deception. His dream of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Wilhelm Reich
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Eva Reich
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Ilse Reich
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Hamilton
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Aurora
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Paul
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Dr. Cameron
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Hills
Shaun Aylward ...
Peter
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Agent Klein
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Thomas
Ian Towers ...
CIA Agent A
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Judge Clifford
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Murphy
Rebecca Blasband ...
Sally Murphy
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Storyline

At the end of his life, Wilhelm Reich - psychiatrist and experimental scientist searching for the fundamentals of life - finds himself on trial, charged with deception. His dream of liberating human individuality makes him a dangerous opponent of an American system that is striving after 1945 for global hegemony, using all available means. Was it madness to believe in man's liberty or was Reich simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and, being a holistic global thinker, accurately observing far-reaching socio-political linkages? Ten years after his mysterious death, his writings, once burnt by the US FDA, become an important source of inspiration for a '68 generation in revolt. Written by Novotny & Novotny

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Biography | Drama

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5 September 2013 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Der Fall Wilhelm Reich  »

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2.35 : 1
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The Strange Case Of Intelligent People Drifting Off Into Lala-Land
6 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

Wilhelm Reich started out as one of the more promising members of the second wave of Freudian psychoanalysts. For example, he worked to promote family planning and birth control to the working class, which was direly needed at the time, rather than setting up a cushy practice and making a killing listening to the petty problems of the bourgeoisie, like so many of his colleagues did. Another line of his was to proclaim a connection between sexual repression and fascism, which later became a fashionable stance with the Hippies, although it's become somewhat jaded since.

On the other hand, in his later life -- particularly after his emigration to the United States -- Reich also also engaged in snake oil witchcraft, claiming to have found physical evidence of a new natural energy form he called "Orgon", later of yet another energy he called "DOR" ("Deadly Orgon Radiation", sort of Orgon's evil twin). Because he built and marketed Orgon chambers and cloud busters (rain-making machines), he was eventually given a hefty two-year sentence and died after half a year in prison, probably from a heart attack.

Although much of Reich's later work is pretty much patent nonsense, he has enjoyed a small but steady followership among people who are intelligent enough to know better. And now they've made this film. It looks amazing, it has stunning camera-work and A-line actors such as Klaus-Maria Brandauer and Julia Jensch (as well as the hero of my teenage years, Sledge Hammer!-superstar David Rasche).

My problem with the film is that it is essentially 90 minutes of unabashed Reichian propaganda. It's the kingdom of light versus the evil empire: Reich makes rain and cures schizophrenia and infertility while his opponents lobotomize, nuke and brainwash. Great movie if you idolize Reich, not your cup of tea if you don't (or simply don't know enough about him).

Four points for Rasche.


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