So much done in terms of aesthetics... Doctor Mabuse, as a fascinating, wicked combination of cleverness and malice, is a perfect evil demiurge, but I was expecting a more brilliant plot, especially with regard to the denouement. It's a nicely directed spoken sequel, not as valuable as what Lang achieved two years earlier with his unforgettable masterpiece M.
4-5. Setting the nazi subtext aside, this and 'M' share a common theme in the elusiveness of truly transcendental evil (sometimes mixed with insanity) and its image. Here that's expressed in brilliant multi-layered metaphors such as the head of an asylum drawn parallel with the man behind the curtain mingled with a brilliant aesthetic disconnect between sound and image established from the film's first frames.
RIP Filmstruck. There's a little of that 'You made me a criminal' that the anti-hero leans on. He goes to work for Mabuse, but this Mabuse guy is tapping into something evil in the ether. He creates formulas for wreaking havoc. Killing him isn't enough. I think the best scene is the curtain reveal. Our anti-hero plugs the villain with a bunch of bullets only to find that there is no man behind the curtain.
Visually fantastic German expressionism blended with the film noir genre. It has some good cliffhanger-moments and set-pieces too like the shooting down of a man in a crossing and the attempted drowning of the romantic pair. Impressive car chase at the end. It even has a returning character from "M" in it. A fun film to see.
If there is a cinematic treatise of evil with philsophical ramifications that defy enumeration it must be this one. Lang's second Mabuse film stretches the mind and the senses from the technological will-to-power to the Weimar climate of irrationality examining evil as a (real in its effects) simulation. The wealth of metonymies is beyond belief culminating in a fabulous rescue sequence in the flooded Mabuse room.
The origin of all of today's twisty-turny trick thrillers, and still unsurpassed as an urban crime epic turned by terrorism into a horror story. Despite his reputation, Lang's film is actually extremely funny, albeit in a dry way, and Wernicke gives a strong human core to bizarre goings on. What's amazing is how much of the plot is offscreen despite the bounty of onscreen action. A top ten suspense classic.
A testament itself to the vision of Fritz Lang, whose detailed exposition on the notion of evil foresees the motivations behind every terrorist attack happening in the world today, from the Khmer Rouge to Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The "Herrschaft des Verbrehens" benefits itself from our growing distrust, xenophobia and need for isolation. Ultimately, an empire of crime is born out of the tyranny of fear.
The only Lang I have seen that can rival and perhaps even exceed M in its creativity and ideas. The death of Kramm is the greatest murder scene ever put on film. It feels like listening to an orchestra and then having all the violinists stop abruptly. Finally, my comparison with Mabuse as an all-seeing god in the first film become even more persuasive since his ideas are more or less the equivalent of the bible here.