This film works on many different levels.
Firstly, its a cracking horror film/thriller about a child murderer on the loose in the Berlin of 1931. Lang’s use of framing and lighting is a revelation and would prove highly influential in the wider medium of film.
The film is also an amazing snapshot of Germany at the time, post World War I. A broken down society that is in need of repair with its people looking to different authority figures for a solution.
Finally, the film has many things to say about crime and punishment. But it also has a lot to say about justice. The killers crimes are abhorrent but there are no crimes that don’t warrant a fair trial. When the baying crowd with murder on its mind needs to satify its bloodlust, will it just be those who are guilty that are next in their sights? This film was made when the Nazi Party were starting to rise in popularity. Which makes this film even braver and brilliant.
An audacious, daring piece of art.
5 out of 5