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4.4
11,134 Ratings

M

Directed by Fritz Lang
Germany, 1931
Crime, Drama

Synopsis

A madman (Peter Lorre) is stalking the streets of Berlin, abducting small children. As public hysteria mounts, both the police and the criminal underworld start to hunt him. Bit by bit, the net tightens…

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M Directed by Fritz Lang
A classic tale of catechizing human virtue in pre-Nazi Germany, Lang’s first talkie keeps us terrorized with onscreen dialogue and asynchronous off-screen sounds. The adumbral opening is flawless Expressionism—menacing cuckoos, leering abandonment and the awakening of sheer terror within one silhouette.
July 08, 2015
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If there’s one thing that Fritz Lang’s 1931 film M still teaches us, it’s that beyond all else, filmmakers should strive to place images on the screen that he or she sincerely believes will have never been seen before. An astounding hybrid of Bible-black film noir and a lithe take on German expressionist dynamics in which the shadows are literally out to kill you, there’s nary a shot in this film which (still) doesn’t feel as fresh as a new-growth daisy.
September 04, 2014
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To M’s towering credit, the murderer stares back at us in the mirror: This is a movie that dares to sympathize with a sick person, that risks making the monster real and us (in an era when Germany’s cinema was still shellacked in canted angles and fanciful shadows). When Lorre is thrown to the floor, wailing in a moment of capture, we see him as human, painfully flesh and blood. Lang doesn’t excuse this soul, nor does he turn him into some rarefied supergenius.
March 12, 2013
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What are people saying?

  • Ghostman's rating of the film M

    'M' is a masterpiece of the highest order. Here, the personal is political and Lang's portrays a Germany leaving behind a law abiding society in exchange for what would be soon clearly defined as fascism only two years after the film's release. 'M' is a film that laments a society deserting its citizens, emerging into an eerily prescient work of art that's also timeless in its insights. One for the ages.

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film M

    Substituting expressionism for gritty realism, Lang & co. simultaneously predict the grammar of the modern procedural, the film noir & the entire serial killer sub-genre. Placing the emphasis on the community & finding disquieting political parallels in scenes of mob justice, irrationality & civil unrest, the film's slow crawl from docudrama towards a kind of heightened theatre of the absurd is endlessly compelling.

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film M

    With the exception of a quickly-glanced young victim and her mother at the beginning, the Lorre character is the closest character that we sympathize with, but that's not until the very end and after he gives us the shivers long beforehand. Great film, even if it's an unemotive procedural until the finale that says a lot about our world and despite no one commanding our attention like the child-murdering Lorre.

  • Christopher M. Jones's rating of the film M

    I haven't watched a ton of movies from before the 1950s but I can tell the editing and cinematography of this film was strikingly ahead of its time. I sense a lot of influence on John-Pierre Melville in particular. Largely deserves its reputation

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film M

    For the longest time I use to believe that cinema should value image over everything. Watching this and other Lang masterpieces have opened my eyes to the power of sound which I now pay attention for just as much as the visuals. Then there's the way this film constantly strays the line between fiction and documentary. It begins as a fictional slasher film and becomes a documentary about Germany in the early 30s.

  • Francisco R.'s rating of the film M

    What strikes me more about this film is just how far ahead of its time it was in terms of style, with no score at all to emphasize the early sound recording system, the smart cutting and camerawork, not to mention the superb script, this is 100% modernist, sober and intelligent filmmaking.

  • Gylfi's rating of the film M

    I am about to watch the original 1932 British released version of M, recently rediscovered, featuring different actors, alternate takes and Peter Lorre's first performance in English. It's going to be one straaaaange evening, yes siree!

  • Dave's rating of the film M

    For me, the first undisputed masterpiece of talking pictures. Lorre turns in arguably his greatest performance and Fritz Lang shines. He manages to unnerve the audience without ever showing a single act of violence. Just brilliant.

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