This review is sponsored by the letter ‘M’ and the number ‘6’.
I was never going to rate this movie highly. How can you rate a movie highly when it’s about a kiddy murderer?
The bigger issue causing me to rate this film low, however, is the abysmal ending…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The movie displays an unusual directorial method. Long, dramatic scenes are interspersed with short “still life” shots. There is no music and sound effects are kept to a minimum, which gives the film an eerie quality you’re unlikely to see elsewhere (after all, even “silent” films are usually set to upbeat honky tonk music).
The audience are privy to the identity of the murderer from a fairly early stage in the film, although how the poor German town missed it is beyond me. I mean, the guy grabs a kid and heads straight to a balloon seller to buy the kid the creepiest balloon you’ve ever seen.
“How can a balloon be creepy?” you ask.
Eventually all the criminals in the general vicinity decide to help the bumbling police catch this guy. (Yes, this movie has gangsters too – it is a Top 100 movie, after all).
It’s a watchable film. I might have even liked it a bit… that is, until the devastatingly offensive “moral” ending. There is nothing worse than a bad ending. Long, drawn-out movies can redeem themselves with a quality ending (just ask ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai‘)… but, even if you have me at hello, if the ending is bad, you’ll lose me at goodbye.
To explain in this case, the “moral” I find offensively pushed in the viewer’s direction, is that the parents of the little murdered children should themselves feel responsible for their own children’s deaths:
Judge: [about to pronounce sentence] In the name of the people…
Grieving Mother: This won’t bring back our children. We, too, should keep a closer watch on our children.
Sure, I’d probably forcibly detain my children if there was a kiddy murderer lurking about town… but I shudder at the thought that any person should be held responsible for a criminal’s actions apart from the criminal him or herself. Least of all the parents who’ve just lost their child.
It’s only a movie, of course, so maybe I shouldn’t get so steamed up about it. To me, though, it just stinks of the victim blaming that is so prevalent in our society.
Have you seen ‘M’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.