2 June 2004 | goblinhairedguy
Alienation through boredom
If only Bayer or Pfizer could bottle this movie for insomniacs, they'd make an even bigger fortune than they do now. Fassbinder proved he could fashion unique cinematic art out of a bunch of people standing around excoriating each other in several of his early pictures, but here the internal tensions never mount and the tropes don't connect. Some claim it to be a homage to film noir, and certainly there is alienation, paranoia and betrayal in spades, as well as iconic visual references to classics like Laura and Double Indemnity. But the moody lighting and framing in his excellent "The American Soldier" are much closer to the noir stylings of Alton and Planer than the arid non-style here.
However, the greatest offense of the film is the inclusion of a seemingly endless, static sequence featuring the playing of a phonograph record of a gimmicky children's tune about an oddball menagerie -- I guarantee you that this nauseating little ditty will echo in your skull for days. At the same time, the subtitlers are owed a great deal of credit for their incisively clever translation of the absurd rhyming couplets into (very British) English.