As serial killer Lothar Schramm lies dying in his own blood, horrific memories of his miserable life of paranoia, self-harm and rejection flash before his eyes. A tragic look into the mind of a Borderline Personality Disorder psychopath.
Florian Koerner von Gustorf,
A man is released from prison after serving ten years for murdering an elderly woman. He quickly begins to feel the compulsion to kill again. After failing to murder a cab driver, he flees and discovers a secluded rural home, where a young woman lives with her sick mother and disabled brother. He then begins to take out his sadistic pleasures on them, attempting to hold them hostage, while thinking of his troubled childhood with his abusive mother and grandmother...Written by
Its rare that a film hits me hard with style, while still managing to impress in its entirety. Tricks of lighting, editing and artful camera movement have much for me in raw appreciation of image, but perhaps because in latter times style often supplants meaning I have little use for it in the deeper analysis. Angst is a departure from this, a film of such striking, such ever noticeable camera artistry that by all rights it should be distracting, a turn off from narrative, but in fact it serves to always deepen the films clammy effects. The plot is simple, a nameless individual (modelled on mass murderer Werner Kniessek) is released from jail, having spent ten years inside for murder. Let loose, he immediately sets off in search of new victims, with unpretty results and abrupt finale. Played by Erwin Leder, he exudes constant wide eyed menace calm demeanour and matter of fact tones filled with inner horror. We follow him always, he speaks little but narrates throughout, his words recounting abusive family, childhood animal torture, the various clichés of the psychopathic killer. The clichés matter not though, this isn't a film about scouring the inner depths for interest but a cold account. It seeks not to glamorise or add color, just to tell of things as they happen, there is interest in the leads obsessive pursuit of fear, but it is dealt with in matter of fact fashion, psychology or philosophy are not the objectives here. As I said earlier, its the style that makes everything work. In most of the outdoor scenes the camera tracks our lead from above, looking down from the air a distance off. Hunting like a quarry, depersonalising, ouside of one mad, whirling woodland freakout he is a cold specimen of interest. Then, when inside or down to business the camera changes its tune, getting in closer and looking above from low angles, turning him to a beast of menace and in one bravura diner set show of ultra close up shots, a horribly calculating hunter. Mirroring these differences of style is the score by Klaus Schulze, with outdoor passages of industrial pounding mixed in with more intimate menace when things get up close. Perhaps best of all, when the film turns really nasty the camera knows exactly when to grimly linger on an act of violence and when to more imply it. Camera work, cinematography and editing were all handled by future Oscar winner Zbigniew Rybczynski, who also co wrote. There is even a rumour that he directed and that Gerard Kargl was just a pseudonym to deflect criticism of the films extreme subject matter. Whatever the backstage details it is certainly the work of a world class technician and deserves to be seen by anyone who can stomach it. One could perhaps criticise the films final section, a drop off after the gruelling intensity of what has come before, but there's a sense of inevitability that makes it work for me at least. Definitely not a film for everyone, but if you like 'em cold, brutal and beautifully made it's a must see.
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