Set at a time when terrorists in Europe were more likely to be motivated by a study of Das Kapital than the Koran, The Baader-Meinhof Complex is a gripping but dispassionate account of the violent left-wing militant group that waged a terrorist war against the West German state during the 1970s.
Director Uli Edel’s movie is painstakingly accurate, right down to the number of bullets fired in the gang’s raids (though it does trim the quantity of political jargon spouted), and it perfectly captures the mood of the era).
It also provides ample food for thought for today’s War on Terror. Yet for all the parallels, the gulf between today’s Islamic terrorists and their Western revolutionary predecessors is huge, as is illustrated by the occasion the gang’s leaders, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek), and their companions in arms, stay at a PLO training camp in Jordan. When their shocked hosts ask the nude-sunbathing women in the group to cover up, the arrogant, swaggering Baader snarls back: “Sexual revolution and anti-imperialism go together. Fucking and shooting are the same thing.”
Released 20th April
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Does the movie’s portrayal of its machine-gun-toting rebels glamourise terrorism? Read more.