Thursday, May 22, 2014

Metropolis (1927)

Today's film is Metropolis. It is one of the best science fiction films I have ever seen.  It is also eerily prophetic, especially here in America.  Even though we're not as bad as some countries, there is still a sharp divide between the lower and upper classes, and the middle class is becoming extinct.

In the world of Metropolis, the city planners and the rest of the upper class live in a beautiful garden utopia on the surface.  The lower class, known as the "workers" run the machines underground that power the city.  The workers live deep underground, below the machines.  Some of them, especially the children, have probably never seen sunlight.

Freder, the son of the city's mastermind, sees a woman surrounded by children and follows her deep underground.  He has never seen this part of the city before and had no idea what the workers have to go through in order to keep the above-land comfortable.  The woman is Maria and she is sort of a preacher/prophet that believes that there needs to be a mediator between the workers and the city planners.  She says the brains of the city and the hands that work needs a heart to come between them.

Meanwhile, Freder's dad, Joh Frederson is working with Rotwang, an inventor.  Rotwang looks like an angry Beethoven and he is building a robot that never tires or makes a mistake.  Frederson tells angry Beethoven to make the robot look just like Maria, so she can stir discord among the workers.  Then, they capture Maria and lock her up.

Rotwang's invention is successful and Maria-bot convinces the workers to destroy the machines.  Both Maria and her robot double were played by Brigitte Helm, and she does an awesome job portraying the two different personalities.  A lot of the acting is bad silent film over-acting, but that's all silent films so it's okay. 

So since Maria-bot got all the workers to destroy the machines, all of the underground areas start flooding!  Especially the worker's underground city!  The real Maria escapes and rescues all the children trapped in the city.  Meanwhile, the workers tie up Maria-bot and burn her at the stake like a witch.  This shows that in times of panic, lots of people will turn to superstition.  But the real Maria saves the day and meets up with Freder, who kisses her.  Freder now can act like the heart, or mediator, between the working class and the city planners.  And they lived happily ever after.

I didn't understand the skeleton playing the flute, the seven sins or stuff like that.  This film didn't need all of those abstract things in there.  I felt it took away from the movie.  Other than that, the movie was great.  I will give it a 9/10.


  1. The deeper philosophical layers of this film are messy and confused to say the least. I do not think we should try too hard to understand it. Instead the vignettes are eerily predictive. There is fascism, mensch-maschine elements and religious themes and it is difficult not to think of Bladerunner when whatching this.
    The android is pretty cool.

    1. Fuck yeah Bladerunner. I think the android is one of the most recognizable robots in film. There are so many elements crammed into the movie that some of them get lost along the way.