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The opening scene of this movie can tell you how the whole film will be like: strange, hypnotic, visually stunning, sometimes disturbing, and powerful. This film is about gangsters in Berlin after WWII. It is mesmerizing, and makes me want to see it again and again after it ends. Though I cannot quite understand the whole story of this movie after viewing it for only one time, its atmosphere really entrances me. The atmosphere is strange and has something undescribable about it, something which is unfamiliar and really makes this movie stand out from other movies. And I think its atmosphere corresponds very well with the mental state of the characters. Besides its superb visual quality, the use of plane noises in this movie is quite interesting and very effective. Moreover, there is a sense of discontinuity running throughout the whole film. It seems like some scenes which might have been important to other mainstream films are deemed unnecessary here, and they are indeed unnecessary. To make a movie full of discontinuities might not be difficult, but in this movie, the feeling of discontinuity seems to fit in very well, seems very appropriate, seems so right, and I think to make a movie like this requires a real great talent. The feeling of discontinuity strongly enhances that undescribable atmosphere and makes the movie much more exciting to watch. Furthermore, it is worth noticing that not only some scenes are appropriately left out, but something which would normally have been the focus of the scene is sometimes curiously missing.
As for the performance, Katharina Thalbach has a suitable and memorable role here. The actor who plays Gladow also gives a stunning performance. I have heard that the film is based on a true story, but I think its style, feelings, and power are unique, and quite different from other movies based on a true story. In my opinion, this movie is not only a `must-see', but a `must-see-at-least-twice.'
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