Metropolis (1927) Film Review

I really hate it when I don’t enjoy a classic film. I really want to enjoy it but I just can’t. I want to understand some people’s love for it, but I just can’t. Metropolis falls under this category. An unbearably slow film, (I watched the restoration which is over 2 hours long…that may have been a bad idea) that starts off with interesting ideas but then seems to not really do much with them. It is the year 2026, the wealthy rule the city of Metropolis, while the lower-class work for hours on end underground in awful conditions. The Master of Metropolis is Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) and his son is Freder (Gustav Frohlich), who spends his days with other rich people in a place called the pleasure garden where he truly does nothing at all. A woman named Maria (Brigitte Helm) brings a group of working children up for a visit in pleasure garden and Freder is quickly enamored by Maria. Freder decides to explore the underground part of the city only to be shocked as an explosion goes off and kills multiple workers.

He reports this to his father who is disappointed his son was the first to report it over his assistant, Josepha (Theodor Loos), and his assistant is quickly fired. This does an immediate job of showing the coldness of Joh but they never do much else with his character. In fact, very little of the characters are developed in anyway. Most of them are completely uninteresting and the setting itself is compelling at first but quickly loses anything interesting halfway through the film as the film moves at a snail pace. Anyways, the main aspect of the plot here is that the workers are led by Maria to stop this feud between the rich and the poor with nonviolence and the eventual arrival of a mediator to make it happen.

My real issue is that the film starts with such a great idea and had potential to become something like 1984 (I’m aware it came out afterwards (and that it‘s a novel), but still, just an example) but it instead becomes filled with strange religious allusions and becomes a witch hunt essentially by the end. They never really do any decent social commentary at all. If any at all. This wouldn’t matter if the film was actually entertaining, but it only is in spurts and then quickly becomes a repetitive bore.

I do think the special effects were impressive and this film is obviously important for being the first full length science fiction film…well, ever. That doesn’t mean it holds up because it doesn’t. In fact, it’d be hard for me to believe the film was entertaining in 1927. I still wonder if I had watched the shorter version of the film how much more I would’ve enjoyed the film. It certainly would’ve have been paced better considering so much of this film is unbelievably uninteresting. But, I don’t think that changes the fact that this movie doesn’t really do anything. It isn’t entertaining. It doesn’t really have a message. What is this movie? I guess, good special effects for 1927? Whatever. I’m glad I gave this classic a chance, but I highly doubt I’ll revisit it anytime soon.

2/5 stars.


One thought on “Metropolis (1927) Film Review

  1. Pingback: Metropolis (1927) | timneath

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