Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.Franz Woyzeck is a hapless, hopeless soldier, alone and powerless in society, assaulted from all sides by forces he can not control.
This is certainly not a film for everybody. If you find the following review annoying, and you feel as if you wasted time reading it - BY ALL MEANS - avoid seeing this film, you simply won't enjoy it.
Another Herzog-Kinski masterwork, Woyzeck is one of the weirdest films of the 1970s. I do not use the word "weird" very often, but it is so appropriate for this film that an endless string of adjectives, adverbs and modifiers I would need to replace it seem thoroughly inadequate. Despite the vast and deep power and beauty of this film, I don't want to label it "good". Unlike some of the less surreal Herzog-Kinski collaborations, the amount of attention you pay to this film does not necessarily correspond to the amount of sense you will be able to make of it. Mostly, I think it's a film about psychosis - both personal psychosis (Woyzeck himself) and social psychosis (Woyzeck's miserable treatment at the hands of virtually everybody around him in his back-water town in Nazi occupied Poland).
For the first half of the film you will feel as if you are playing a VERY serious version of Monty Python's "Spot the Loonie." But, in this case, you are looking for the HEAD LOONIE in a whole melange of maniacs. The string of soliloquies which eventually leads to the climactic ending, hearkens back to Shakespearean tragedies, but until the very end, you don't necessarily know whether to think of this film as a comedy or the very dark and sinister tragedy that it seems to be. Even after the film exposes itself so dramatically in the end, I am still inclined to see it as a very deranged bit of comedy as much as anything else. Such is the beauty of Herzog's artistic method - nothing is straightforward, much is hideous and beautiful, and in a peculiar metaphysical and aesthetic sense, it all makes perfect sense.
Klaus Kinski gives a signature performance and the rest of the cast, though excellent, is barely noticeable with Kinski's intensity in the foreground. Though less accessible than many of Kinski's more popular works (Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, Nosferatu), this is nevertheless a unique and brilliant blend of one of the greatest actor-director teams of all time.
- Oct 3, 2005