A romance about terrorists and foiled ideals and fitful dreams: is that permitted? In Uli Edel’s entertaining if less-than-coherent rollercoaster docudrama “The Baader-Meinhof Complex,” a collection of post-Nazi-generation radicals calling themselves the Red Army Faction, led by journalist Ulrike Meinhof and activists Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, trouble 1970s Germany. A serious subject discussed in the omnibus film “Autumn in Germany” and fictionalized in R. W. Fassbinder’s “The Third Generation,” Edel’s approach, produced and co-written by Bernd Eichinger (“Downfall”) is less weighty, at times even exploitative, yet at moments more discerning: what of youth’s arrogant impulses could lead to such forms of revolt, unlikely to sway common burgher or privileged politician? The lessons for today are implicit; the lectures few; the narrative clotted and wayward. Lovingly shot by Rainer Klausmann (“The Lemon Tree,” “Downfall,” “Head-On”). With Simon Licht, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Hannah Herzsprung, Susanne Bormann, Nadja Uhl, Volker Bruch, Jasmin Tabatabai. 150m. (Ray Pride)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.