Herzog's take on the Woyzeck story was his third brilliant collaboration with madman/actor Klaus Kinski and resulted in this mesmerizing film that may pale in scope compared to their other collaborations but still has an extreme power over the viewer. Kinski is brilliant here in a performance of inner turmoil, ticks and anxieties. Also of note is the Cannes winning supporting turn by Eva Mattes.
For Herzog/Kinski completionists. A visual tone poem depicting the descent into madness (complete with cacophony of a town brass band), based on the original (unfinished) stage play by Georg Büchner. Set in rural Saxony or Prussia in the early 1800s (before German unification), the film shows that the poor were/are handy test subjects for 'science'. The field of poppies reminds me of "The Wizard of Oz" (sans road).
Werner Herzog is a genius. Woyzeck is beautifully crafted and acted. I loved how stationary the camera was. The long takes with the stationary camera really allow the audience to explore every minute detail of the film. I think this might be Klaus Kinski's best performance! This film isn't for everyone though. It's a very slowly paced film, but in my opinion the slow pace allows the ending to have a greater impact.
Herzog uses the ponderous long-takes to give full attention to Kinski's frantic and magnetic on-screen presence. The intensity of Kinski's eyes and facial expressions give the entire film a teetering sense of mystery and insanity—culminating with the surreal moment when Woyzeck finally breaks.
(1.5 stars) Werner had used up all of his mojo on Nosferatu when he jumped directly into this terrible follow-up. A bright spot is watching Kinski get batshit throughout the film. In the big scene at the end, his expression is just amazing. The story is very weak as are the characters. Herzog's script is all over the place and is basically a series of short speeches philosophizing regardless of the overarching story.
Perhaps Herzog/Kinski's slightest feature—like an experiment or a sketchbook, working another variation on the madness of civilization and its total inability to control irrational natural instinct. There are moments of real beauty, and this may actually contain the best performance Kinski ever gave Herzog: the subtlest, the most controlled, the ticking (if mad) human mind before the total eruption.