Metropolis Movie Review

Cinema history is full of stories about films shamefully hacked by studios and censors. And it still happens today. So this restored version of Lang's masterpiece is something to celebrate, both for its bravura filmmaking and the fact that this almost-complete version exists at all.

In a futuristic city where workers toil underground, the privileged class lives in modern splendour, enjoying its Son's Club and Eternal Gardens. But when Freder (Frohlich), son of the city's master Joh (Abel), goes underground in search of the beautiful Maria (Helm), he discovers the dark truth firsthand.

Back home, he challenges his father to create a more just system, then he teams up with a dismissed factory manager (Loos) to help launch a rebellion.

Meanwhile, Joh and his mad inventor (Klein-Rogge) have a counter-revolutionary plan of their own.

Lang's filmmaking is still impressive today, with its stunning views of the futuristic city combined with a gripping story that's grounded in emotion and a soulful yearning for justice. The film's design is simply magnificent, with dazzling sets, big effects and a cast of thousands. But the narrative and characters are just as memorable, combining political intrigue with gritty thrills as Freder is shadowed by his father's creepy, thin goon (Rasp) and as Maria is cloned as a robotic rabble-rouser.

The image most people remember is the iconic female robot, clearly a prototype for Star Wars' C-3PO half a century years later. And her connection to each man gives the film an emotionally potent kick as it drives the increasingly harrowing events that follow. Add to this the messianic overtones surrounding Freder, and the plot clamps down on us with romance, action and dark drama, never letting go for a second as it builds to an apocalyptic climax.

This reconstructed version contains 25 minutes of footage that were thought to have been lost forever. Discovered in Buenos Aires in 2008, these timeworn scenes have been lovingly re-inserted exactly as in Lang's original version of the film, adding much more resonance to the already timeless story. Classic movies don't get much more essential than this one.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Starring : , Gustav Frohlich, , , , , Erwin Biswanger, Heinrich George

Comments

Metropolis Rating

" Essential "

Rating: PG, 1927

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