It's films like this that spoil me from being able to watch today's mainstream Hollywood product. They just don't make 'em like this anymore...If anyone did make a film this good today, I would be raving about it, telling everyone to go see it. But this is 82 years old, so I guess there's no point. My friend said "I heard the new Tom Hanks movie is great, why won't you go with me? Don't be a snob." I just couldn't...
An exceptionally good sequel with meticulously constructed scenes (sharp angled interiors, wide open spaces in relation to people in them), a steadily (albeit slowly) moving plot, Mabuse's disturbing astral figure, and a dizzying chase scene at the end. Goebbels himself informed Lang that the film would be banned, leaving Testament the last fine example of Lang's German Expressionist era.
What is perhaps most unsettling about the editorial thread behind the work's plotting is that through it Lang reveals that the disturbed and aberrant thought process of Dr. Baum is more capable of drawing conclusions and taking action than the process of law and authority. Despite Lohmann's intelligence, he is once again trapped within a formal system of process that is not as advanced as those within it.
The plot is very jumbled, but shrewd viewers will be able to make sense of it. The visuals in this Expressionist piece are some of Lang's most exquisite and enthral the viewer exceptionally. This film was truly ahead of its time. The frenetic narrative and cinematography heralds the style of thrillers that Hitchcock pioneered. Not only is this film essential for any Lang fan, but any cinephile.
Nothing like a Fritz Lang masterpiece to remind you what shit Hollywood FX movies are. And the sound design and editing, OMG, there isn't an adjective to describe how fantastic it is. A sound suggests one thing, the image suddenly shows something else. Lang is the man.
In his final film before fleeing Nazi Germany, Lang reprised the character of Mabuse for another gripping and superlative film. The criminal genius is now confined to an asylum but his influence on a criminal gang remains strong. Inspector Lohmann, a returning character from M, is on the case after a tip-off from a former colleague just before he is driven mad and confined to the cell previously occupied by Mabuse...
In my opinion The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is better than Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler, but it still isn't perfect. However it packs a lot of thrills in a short two hours and there's a lot to love here. Lang was at his peak of his powers when he made this film and it's so gloriously expressionistic, dreamlike and beautiful. Also it's great to see Tubby Lohmann again. Mabuse's piercing gaze will forever haunt me.