The Baader Meinhof Complex

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Directed by Uli Edel. Screenplay by Bernd Eichinger. Starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek and Martina Gedeck. Opens Friday.

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Founded by self-described urban guerrillas Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Ulrike Meinhof, the Red Army Faction were the Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army and righteous outlaws of Bonnie and Clyde combined—robbing banks, planting bombs, shooting cops and assassinating judges for the better part of the decade that followed the convulsions of 1968. Directed from Bernd Eichinger's screenplay by Uli Edel, The Baader Meinhof Complex is a sweeping, hectic docudrama. Despite a large cast, only the three principals are individualized. Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu) and Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) make a charismatic couple—she's a fiery fanatic, he's a crazy hipster. As the journalist gone native, Martina Gedeck's Meinhof is a tormented liberal who takes the existential plunge when she decides to escape with the duo after facilitating Baader's 1970 jailbreak. The events are clear, but the psycho-politics are obscure, and the film lacks the claustrophobic power of Koji Wakamatsu's parallel epic United Red Army.

 
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