|KAMIKAZE 1989 (director/writer: Wolf Gremm; screenwriters: Robert Katz/from the novel "Mord im 31. Stock" by Per Wahlöö; cinematographer: Xaver Schwarzenberger; editor: Thorsten Näter; music: Edgar Foese/Tangerine Dream; cast: Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Jansen), Günther Kaufmann (Anton), Boy Gobert (Konzernchef), Arnold Marquis (Police President), Richy Müller (Neffe), Nicole Heesters (Barbara), Brigitte Mira (Personnel Director), Jorg Holm (Vice President), Hans Wyprächtiger (Zerling), Petra Jokisch (Elena Farr), Franco Nero (Weiss); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Regina Ziegler; MGM; 1982-West Germany-in German with English subtitles)|
is a humorless film, even if meant to be a
by Dennis Schwartz
Gremm ("The Brothers"/"Fabian"/"Death or
Freedom") directs this oddly intriguing but
sleep-inducing futuristic sci-fi thriller, that takes
a stand against West Germany's corporate ruled society
and almost everything about modern West Germany. It's
based on the novel "Mord im 31. Stock"
on the 31st Floor))
by the Swedish writer Per Wahlöö and
is co-written by Gremm and Robert Katz in a confusing
totalitarian futuristic German society of 1989,
"the combine" completely controls the media.
Dressed in an imitation leopard-skin suit, the
arrogant know-it-all police-lieutenant Jansen (Rainer
Werner Fassbinder) and his obsequious
assistant MK-1Anton (Günther Kaufmann) are
sent to find the bomb supposedly planted in the
company headquarters by an enemy of the corporate
giant or to find out if it was only a threat meant to
be a clever ruse to detract attention from the
combine's criminal activities. The alcoholic and
flaccid Jansen, in a country that whitewashes its
problems so the world can think it has no problem with
such things as suicides, alcoholism, dissension,
employment and pollution--investigates a variety of
suspects from all classes and reports his findings to
the corrupt combine chief known as the 'Blue Panther'
cast members of note are Franco Nero as an
editorial writer on the 31st floor (which might not
exist), who is possibly a conspirator, and Brigitte
Mira as the harried personnel director who takes a
plunge off a skyscraper for the cause of conspiracy.
result is a humorless film, even if meant to be a
riot, that only succeeds in being bizarre and visually
pleasing. It is mostly grating, as it tells us in a condescending
smug way something we already know or should
know--life is not utopian in the West German paradise.
was Fassbinder's final role as an actor, he died a
REVIEWED ON 8/14/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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