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  • Til Schweiger's acting is so excellent that his facial expression alone is often able to bring out the intensity of the plot. How come this wonderful actor is relatively unknown at the other side of the Atlantic? Instead of telling a story a la Hollywood, the director takes advantage of film-making and let music and images speak for themselves. This movie makes me wanna do two things---collect all Callas' recordings and learn German.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For a movie that tries to explore the true nature of the Devil, Der Grosse Bagarozy offers the audience an interesting outlook on the Devil. The Devil was tired of mass destruction, as human was able to conduct such things by themselves; but instead, the Devil set his goal on totally crushing a person, mentally and physically. He at first believed he would succeed and find joy in his victory over fragile humanity. But, in the end, he realized he could not grasp pride and delight from destroying and devastating people. Although in the end, humanity seemed to triumph over devilishness, the movie still didn't end in a totally happy tone. Terror and manipulation will always find its way back to our world. But the darkness of the movie is, overall, lightened by the romance tale. The character of the Devil is enriched, and becomes more complicated and realer. This is not a particularly profound or warning movie, but it is enjoyable and it has things to say.
  • I enjoyed this highly inventive story of odyssey and love. The Devil goes to a psychiatrist and falls in love with her. The odyssey is mostly about convincing the psychiatrist that he is serious and not crazy. A sub-story about a legendary opera singer provides a philosophical background that reminded me of the bookishness of the writer L. Borges. It also sets up an unforgettable scene. Deadpan, foreboding, European pacing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The devil himself on a psychiatrist's couch. He seduces her, plays tricks on her. But is he for real? The movie does a pretty good job at keeping this question open. Every time Cora (Corinna Harfouch) and the audience, considers to believe in the supra-natural elements of his story, she finds facts that could justify a rational explanation. This part of the movie works quite well.

    I also like Till Schweiger as the self-confident, playful womanizer. A real man, not just a uninterested couch-potato as Coras husband. Great acting, but not enough of a plot to let him play out the extremes.

    You don't see the devil being really evil, he just talks about it. When he tells some absurd story about his influence on Maria Callas' career (the greatest opera singer of all times), it feels like a history lesson with black-and-white original footage. Then the endlessly repeated references to black poodles. This is a German movie primarily for a German audience, who had to read Goethe's "Faust" in high school. "What's at the poodle's core?" Yes, we know, the devil. An occasional reference is fun, but the endless repetition bores.

    Compare this to other devilish movies with excellent male lead actors. They get their opportunity to shine, for example Al Pacino in "The Devil's Advocate" (1997), Robert De Niro in "Angel Heart" (1987), Jack Nicholson in "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987).

    Unfortunately the plot makes things even more complicated, by adding the classical story of a house-wive in her mid-life crisis, and the story of a psychologist who falls knowingly for a con-man's psychological tricks. Compare this with "House of Games" (1987), a focused plot with surprising twist and turns till the end, and lots of empathy for the female main character.

    I'm also a bit disappointed by the visual effects. Flash-backs, cut-in dream sequences, 1950s footage. This technique has been a staple since the 1980s. I'd expect a Bernd Eichinger in the late 1990s to be a little less obvious in his choice of imagery. It always stops short of being interesting.

    But all turns out well, because of Corinna Harfouch. (Admittingly, I'm a big fan of hers.) The ugly duckling turns into a swan, the bored house-wive and naive doctor into a sensual and self-confident woman who gets her revenge. She and Till Schweiger play well together. Their performance alone make this movie fun to watch.
  • This film is about middle aged women's inner seach. The lyrics from the mouth of Callas sang them all. I first resented the way she recreated herself by outlooking or sex. However, I was wrong. She failed by them. Instead of fantacy that seemed stupid, she finally ran out from the boundary of her own and found the eternal value in love, and belief of love.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I concur when fellow 'film lovers' describe this film as a typical child of German art. It is filled with symbolism and at times to deep. When a confused man meets a frustrated wife things begin to boil up. It turns out that the confused man believes to be the devil incarnate. Talking to a shrink (who is a desperate house wife that is married to a man so obsessed with his own mortality, that he can not enjoy life) he relives the last chapter of his life. Instead of keeping his good work going he is repulsed by the crudeness humanity has given evil. As a typical man in the last years of his career he decides to find out if he still has it within himself. He decides to embark on an 'evil' enterprise to spite god and humanity. To do that he chooses a raw diamond (Maria Callas in her young years) of pure humbleness and Italian innocence. When he gets her into trouble for the first time he discovers that she has a gifted voice. His plans change and now he becomes obsessed with his new task: He wants the voice to be pushed and drilled to absolute perfection. This absolute perfection would then reflect gods existence. However, what would spite god more than to hinder this evolution towards godly perfection more than destroying it just before it reaches its goal? The devil stays at her side (in the shape of a poodle) over all her singing years and pushes her into misery and voice perfection. However, he gets so infatuated (it is difficult to think that the devil falls in love) with the beauty of perfection that he misses to spoil the absolute perfect 'godly' moment. His entire world shatters when he suddenly hears her singing and realises that she has reached a god like voice. Germans believe (it is best described by Goethe's Faust) that happiness is a phenomenon that lasts only moments (if you have many such moments then you are a happy person). So he realises that he has seen gods perfection and knows that he has lost what has now turned out to be the last confrontation with god. Having lost his will to be the devil he ends up on the shrinks couch. Together they embark on a bizarre, at moments over painted, journey to find their happiness. There are many other subplots running on a parallel string of events. However, they all turn around the theme: The search of happiness.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Der grosse Bagarozy" or "The Devil and Ms. D" is a German 95-minute movie from 1999, so two more years and this one will have its 20th anniversary. It was the last career effort as director for Bernd Eiching and he really wasn't that often the man in charge behind the camera. He worked on screenplays more often and he did so here as well, but his most known profession is of course producing films. Honestly, I need to say this film is a good example of why he just didn't have it as the man in charge of the creative process. I have not read the Helmut Krausser novel this film is based on, but I'd be surprised if it is as weak as this one here. Then again the film is not a failure by any means either. The first 75 minutes or so were fairly decent. Yes it had some lengths as basically all the involvement of the audience here is guessing if Schweiger's character is really the devil. And honestly all the solutions and plot twists in the last 20 minutes were really bad and hardly made any sense at all, like the way Harfouch's character goes and shoots Heinze's.

    Okay, now I already mentioned the two main lead actors here and I think they aren't too bad. Schweiger is probably the film's MVP and that surprises me as usually he is not the most gifted actor. So it is a bit of a shame that the other material is not convincing enough to go with Schweiger's solid performance. Then again, the character fit him really nicely too. That much is safe. You can check the cast list to see who else is in here and German film buffs will certainly recognize one or the other. So what good is here to take from this film? It may get you interested in the music of Maria Callas as honestly her performances we listen to on several occasions and she is as great as they make her out to be. But beyond that, there are just not enough good moments at all. So yeah, it was definitely a prestigious project in terms of who made this and who starred in it, but I am not surprised this one did not receive any awards recognition at all. Well honestly I kind of am because of the prestigious element I already mentioned and honestly way worse films have received many more awards (recognition). But yeah with this ending I just cannot give it more than 2 out of 5. I may have and I may have also given it a cautious thumbs-up with a better solution at the very end. The way it turned out I don't. Don't watch.
  • poem9 November 1999
    Bernd Eichinger is the most popular and successful movie producer in Germany, and this movie features also the still most popular german actor, Til Schweiger.

    The script seems to be a little like a Duerrenmatt book. But not one of the thrillers, more these typical german, overly intellectual and philosophical stories. You are nearly always a little bored by it and in the end you are just wondering what it wanted to tell you.

    I've simply no idea what this one is good for. The acting of Til is of course very well, but the story leads just nowhere. There is some slapstick in it, but this movie isn't a funny one. Instead, it's very dark. But its also not really melancholic, or such. Its just dangerous in some way.

    Maybe this movie would be excellent for people which like the described kind of books but I like neither these books nor this movie.
  • Bannlust10 October 1999
    1/10
    Ouch!
    This one sucks a lot. Bad Acting, bad script, bad lighting... almost anything on this movie was bad. Never been a fan of Til Schweiger and his works, but this one is really his worst performance I have ever seen. He just don`t get it. A total disaster. The only positive thing worth to mention about this movie is the cameo of Detlev Buck and nothing else. > .