Set in a dystopian future, the mega city of Metropolis is a city cut into two. Up top are the ruling class that enjoy the pleasures that the city, run by Joh Frederson (Abel), provide. Below the surface, however, lurks a nightmarish beehive where workers toil themselves to death to keep the city's occupants in the life they're accustomed to. When Frederson's son, Freder (Frohlich), ventures below he discovers the secret horror of Metropolis and plans to do something about it. Meanwhile, mad scientist Rotwang (Klein-Rogge), once a love rival of Frederson's for his now-deceased wife Hel, has created a 'man-machine' and hopes to give it the appearance of Hel. He plans to teach the man-machine to destroy the city... But don't go thinking he's a good guy.
I'm skimming here, as the plot for Metropolis, like the city itself, exists in layers upon layers. What the restored version does is fill in the gaps of the story that the original sorely missed (Lang himself wasn't a fan of the original release: "I thought it was silly and stupid") and it tidies up the look of the film. Sure, some of it still looks grainy and scratchy in places, but in others it looks perfect. It's a potential bum-numbing ride at two-and-a-half hours but Lang's vision takes the viewer down darkened corridors where suspense, intrigue and horror skulk around every corner. The restored score by Gottfried Huppertz is also a delight.
I don't want to call Metropolis 'awesome' as the word has been devalued of late (I overheard a take-away patron describe his bacon cheese burger as 'awesome') but this version of the film is nothing short of a film-making experience, and how often can you say that these days?
Review by Gavin Burke | 09:00 | Friday 10th September 2010 | Movie Review