A satire of the German "Homeland" film, and an allegory of false freedom that recalls Gogol
An early work from the filmmaker behind THE TIN DRUM with an intriguing Hans Christian Anderson-style fairy tale aesthetic and voice over narration. SUDDEN WEALTH is a despairing chronicle of a group of starving peasants who finally seize governmental wealth like a dysfunctional group of Robin Hood's Merry Men, only to be betrayed by their inescapable selves and systematically dehumanized (think bucolic Orwell) and reprogrammed by what we'll put under the rubric of God and Country. Extremely striking compositions at times. Only one man (who bears a passing resemblance to a young John Cleese, incidentally) refuses to go gentle into that good night. The last scene is reminiscent of the endings in both Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY and THE CRUCIBLE with Day-Lewis, yet all even more chilling with its alienating suddenly reappearing voice-over. SUDDEN WEALTH benefits from an especially strong second half with fuller characterization that makes it come alive as a whole for Schlondorff, whose film's evinces extremely striking compositions at times with stationary camera. Especially recommended for those interested in the New German Cinema.
- Mar 14, 2004
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