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The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (original title)
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A look at Germany's terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s.

Director:

Uli Edel

Writers:

Bernd Eichinger (screenplay), Uli Edel (screenplay collaborator) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Martina Gedeck ... Ulrike Meinhof
Moritz Bleibtreu ... Andreas Baader
Johanna Wokalek ... Gudrun Ensslin
Nadja Uhl ... Brigitte Mohnhaupt
Stipe Erceg ... Holger Meins
Niels-Bruno Schmidt ... Jan Carl Raspe (as Niels Bruno Schmidt)
Vinzenz Kiefer ... Peter-Jürgen Boock
Simon Licht Simon Licht ... Horst Mahler
Alexandra Maria Lara ... Petra Schelm
Daniel Lommatzsch Daniel Lommatzsch ... Christian Klar
Sebastian Blomberg ... Rudi Dutschke
Heino Ferch ... Horst Herold Assistant
Jan Josef Liefers ... Peter Homann
Hannah Herzsprung ... Susanne Albrecht
Tom Schilling ... Josef Bachmann
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Storyline

Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the yet fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation lead by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold. And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he's only dealing with the tip of the iceberg. Written by Constantin Film

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The children of the Nazi generation vowed fascism would never rule their world again.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing images, sexual content, graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

German | English | French | Swedish | Arabic

Release Date:

25 September 2008 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Baader Meinhof Complex See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,687,119 (Germany), 28 September 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,348, 21 August 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$476,270, 6 December 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby SR | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hannah Herzsprung's mother Barbara Herzsprung was roommates with the real Susanne Albrecht at a boarding school when they were teens. Albrecht is portrayed by Hannah in this movie. See more »

Goofs

When Petra Schelm and Gerhard Mueller abandon their BMW 2002 on a bridge while being chased the police, the 2002 used featured rectangular taillights, indicating the car was 1973-1976 model (the earlier models had round taillights). But the event took place in the middle of 1971 (immediately after the scene a TV shows an original news program about the event; it shows the correct BMW 2002 with the round tail lights). See more »

Quotes

Brigitte Mohnhaupt: Stop seeing them the way they weren't.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Making of 'Süsse Stuten 7' (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Better than most critics want to admit
30 September 2008 | by ChrisWasserSee all my reviews

I agree with the other comments on the following points: the film does indeed concentrate on the culprits and their actions in a documentary way (as opposed to an interpretation of the RAF's ideas and motivations from a clear-cut political standpoint). Although the victims DO appear they are not characterized more closely; the only representative of the state is Horst Herold (head of the BKA), politicians do not show up at all, the media appear only in the shape of Springer, konkret and Spiegel and even the lawyers (Haag, Croissant, Schily, Ströbele, etc.) are merged into only one (fictitious?) character. I for one do agree with this approach and if you are prepared for it you probably can live with it too. In any case, despite all the chases, shootouts and explosions it hasn't become a mere action-film.

What's more problematic is that the film follows the book by Stefan Aust VERY closely. Therefore the dramaturgy is more similar to "real life" than to a classical feature film (e.g. there are many changes in pace, several climaxes are distributed over the course of the film and a proper arc of suspense is somewhat missing). "Fortunately" real life offered a culmination of events with the Schleyer kidnapping in the "German Autumn" 1977, so that the film ends in a reasonably satisfying way. Nevertheless the end credits come a little abruptly.

The second problem is that the film tries to show virtually ALL events from the book (only some minor incidents like the Mahler detention, Peter Urbach, the burglaries in registration offices in order to steal blank passports or the visit of Jean-Paul Sartre in Stammheim are missing) so that it needs to squeeze 10 years of history into 140 minutes. The result is a film with breakneck speed at some points. The better scenes (e.g. the training camp in Jordan or the lawsuit in Stammheim) are obviously those where the film catches breath, calms down and takes its time for the actors to shine.

The quality of the acting ranges from good to fantastic (with very few exceptions like Alexandra Maria Lara, who is nothing more than wide-eyed again and who thankfully doesn't even have dialogue). Especially Martina Gedeck and Johanna Wokalek are sensational. It is THEIR film and the conflicts in Stammheim which led to Meinhof's suicide are acted Oscar-worthy. But Michael Gwisdek (Ensslin's father), Jan Josef Liefers (Peter Homann), Sebastian Blomberg (Rudi Dutschke), Nadja Uhl (Brigitte Mohnhaupt) and Hannah Herzsprung (Susanne Albrecht) are also very good.

The production values are excellent too. A lot of locations, a great deal of main and supporting roles, hundreds of extras, good special effects (mainly explosions) and a set design and costume design which creates a very coherent 70's atmosphere: you can see that the film cost a lot of money. Every cent is on the screen.

I didn't like the choice of music that much. Deep Purple's "Child in Time" is always great to hear, but the rest (Janis Joplin, The Who, Bob Dylan) is just too mainstreamy and unimaginative for my taste (but probably also very expensive). Why not use MC5, Ton Steine Scherben or Ennio Morricone's "Vamos a matar, companeros"?

Now I'm looking forward to the reactions and reviews from other countries, who probably don't know this part of German history very well. In the US I expect the criticism that there are too many naked people, too many swear words and even more cigarettes (every one in BMK smokes everywhere and at all times), in order to distract from the politics of the film ;-) "Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" isn't the masterpiece on the history of the first generation of the RAF that I had hoped for in my comments on "Todesspiel", but altogether it is a very suspenseful, fascinating, densely narrated and well acted film. Hopefully it will not be the last word on the subject, but it succeeds in giving the audience the basic RAF knowledge on which future (less neutral, more opinionated) movies can build their stories.


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