Starring: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Frölich
Director: Fritz Lang
Running Time: 153 mins
Metropolis is a German film set in a distant future city where a divide between upper and working class sets apart the people, the son of the city’s creator falls in love with a working class girl who predicts the coming of a ‘mediator’ to end the strong class division in the city.
Well, for its time, this film is absolutely stunning to look at. The huge, imaginative sets, the rings around the Machine-Man and those iconic shots of the city landscape, are genuinely breathtaking to see, not only because it shows the first attempt at this sort of sci-fi genre in history, but because it’s the real inspiration for a lot of our visions of the future now.
So, the effects are not actually dated. To me, they seemed to have the same effect as I would imagine they would have had back in 1927 (although in the 20s it would have been unbelievable), and I was particularly impressed by how the effects and visuals really managed to intrigue me about the story, and set up the atmosphere of the film really well.
However, for all this film’s iconic status, the story’s not that engrossing. The concept of ending that class divide is interesting enough, and while the city’s creator’s son’s trip into the undercity is initially perilous and unpredictable, it does become a little boring to see after 2 hours.
This is where the film becomes dated. For a normal audience, this is a real challenge to watch, and while there are definitely some exciting and interesting scenes, namely the Machine-Man’s transformation and its seduction of all the workers in the undercity, the majority of this story is quite a repetitive one set against modern standards.
Despite that, taking into account its time, this is a fantastic film, and the fact that, although I wasn’t totally fascinated by the story, the effects managed to inspire me and take my breath away so much really impressed me, so that’s why this gets a 7.4.