Neither of the two alternative endings is satisfying, both seem rushed, but other than that the film can be regarded as a brilliant homage to the German Lefist films of Weimar Republic such as "Mother Krause's Journey to Happiness" and "Kuhle Wampe". Fassbinder's look at the possibilities of communism is obviously defined by the experience of APO and RAF and thus more incredulous than the films mentioned above.
Brigitte Mira gives a heartbreaking performance as a widow swept up in a media frenzy when all she really wants is her husband back. Fassbinder captures the insanity of the media when they are trying to capture the next juicy story and the harm that special interest groups do when they try to make something out of nothing. This would make a nice companion piece to La Dolce Vita.
This is a bit of a sequel to 'Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?" It's less about the murderer, and more about the havoc they create in their families. Mutter gets off on the wrong foot by inviting in the Parasites, I mean the Press, and it just gets worse from there on. Exploitation is the name of the game, and even family members get involved. For some reason he decided to pander to the Americans with his filmed ending.
Fassbinder's films are all, effectively, exploitation movies, since they deal with the exploitation of characters as a metaphor for German society. Like The Third Generation, Mother Küsters' is a brilliant lampoon of arm-chair terrorism, but also a heartbreaking character study, given a greater emotional weight by the remarkable performance of Brigitte Mira as the martyred matriarch of the title...
What comes to mind years later is the power of the intertitle/text on screen. What is not shown, only described, can sometimes be the most devestating (see In the Mood for Love's concluding seconds, or numerous moments in Berlin Alexanderplatz).