M (1931)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller


M (1931) Poster

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.


8.3/10
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  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)
  • M (1931)
  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)
  • Inge Landgut in M (1931)
  • M (1931)
  • Peter Lorre in M (1931)

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4 January 1999 | Caliban-6
10
| 60 years old, and still uber-suspenseful
The opening scene of this movie is the first clue to its near perfection – A mother preparing dinner for her child, waiting anxiously for her to return from school. Her hope, and then distress as she hears people pass outside her door. While down in the streets of Berlin, her daughter is receiving a balloon from a strange man in a long black coat. We know what's going to happen, but it's still horrific to watch.

Fritz Lang, you cinematic god! A simple story of the underworld, the police, and a single man holding an entire city hostage, and done with such precision and pre-noir darkness that is oozes creepy suspense from beginning to end.

But this movie is not so simple as the police inspectors trying to catch a devious murderer – it's about the mob, employing its network of beggars and petty thieves also trying to bring the killer to their own brand of justice. Apparently, the police crackdown caused by the murders is bad for business – so the mob begins to track him down as well.

It's not only a great crime story, and perhaps the first physiological thriller (the murderer is schizophrenic) but there's comments to be made here about the nature of justice, and who should best dispense it.

In all, not only a trail-blazing classic, but THE trail-blazing classic.

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