the cabinet of dr. caligari

February 21, 2008

it’s odd to think that some of the first films ever made were actually serial killer films. and it’s odd to think that they are just as creepy and suspenseful as films today. it’s also clear to see how much tim burton has actually stolen from german expressionism, even if he will never admit it. i mean edward scissorhands is just a somnambulist with scissors for hands.

the entire design of the film is very interesting to look at. the skewed buildings, the slanted doorways. but overacting is a real problem. it’s already something that plagues silent film in general, but with the over exaggerated everything in german expressionism it becomes laughable at some points.

plot spoilers in next paragraph

i really enjoyed this film right up until the last minute of the film. the fact that the entire film we are following this story of a sonombulist, and we buy into it, for the director to pull the rug out under our feet and tell us that the entire film was just the imagination of a mad man doesn’t sit well with me. i really don’t like films that try to twist the ending, shock the audience, and end up invalidating the entire experience.

it was a good enough film, and i think worth seeing, just for the fact that it’s had influence (or the movement in general has had influence) on a lot of filmmakers.

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