Monday, October 10, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #78: "World on a Wire" (1973)

Movie Stats:
Released 1973 (West Germany)
West German, in German (watched with English subtitles; there is a tiny amount of English in it)
Director - Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars - Klaus Loewitsch, Mascha Rabben, Karl Heinz Vosgerau

Plot Summary:
After the mysterious death of his predecessor, Fred Stiller (Loewitsch) is promoted into his position, in charge of a computer simulation program. Soon, strange things begin to happen. Vosgerau co-stars as Herbert Siskins, the CEO of the computer company, and Rabben as Eva Vollmer, the daughter of Stiller’s predecessor.

Violence; minor gore; minor blue language; implied sexy times; female nudity (extensive breasts, some butt, very brief hoo-ha).

Bad Stuff:
It’s too long (3.5 hours).

It’s really weird.

As usual, I didn’t care for all of the experimental camera angles.

The writing was not good. It felt very juvenile to me, just the way that people behaved and the way they spoke to one another. Also, there were a lot of inconsistencies. For example, Stiller calls Eva and asks her to pick him up at six. Then he goes out with someone else. Is it a different day or is Eva sitting there at six, wondering where he is? Or, Stiller leaves his car at Eva’s while on the run from the police, goes and does a bunch of stuff over an indeterminate amount of time (including going to a cabaret idk why) and then goes to a parking garage and his car is there. What? How did it get there? And so on.

Good Stuff:
I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I liked the idea of it. It was a mind-bend, the layers on top of layers. I wonder if it informed both “The Matrix” and “Inception.”

It has a great feeling of menace and unease throughout. You never quite feel comfortable.

I enjoyed Vosgerau’s performance. He played an excellently charming psychopath.

The Verdict:
I didn’t care for it. It’s desperately in need of better editing. There’s so much in it that doesn’t add to the film and therefore doesn’t need to be there. Also, the poor writing was disappointing. It kept drawing me out of the story as I noticed the inconsistencies and puzzled over them. Most of the acting was passable, with a standout or two. I think what’s key about it, what earns it a place on this list, is the basic story, which seems to have informed several popular stories to come.

I give it 2.5 stars.


Patricia said...

Good lord, 3.5 hours? Is someone giving you a medal for this?

balyien said...

God, I wish. I would also accept a cash reward. ;)