Bleak and compelling ...
- Woyzeck review by NP
Made the same year as the peerless ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’, ‘Woyzeck’ again brings together the mighty partnership of Klaus Kinski and Director Werner Herzog. Whereas Kinski’s portrayal of the vampire remains a highpoint of understated power, here his intensity hits overdrive and crosses the blurred line between insanity and over-acting.
The story is a deceptively simple one. Woyzeck is a soldier who is forced to take menial jobs and perform degrading experiments in order to feed his family. This leads to his mental breakdown, which results in a shocking act at the film’s climax. As he loses his mind, you can believe in him totally, but that is partly because his frantic movements and extreme facial expressions indicate the grip of his senses is fragile to begin with. In true Herzog style, the film drinks up the main character’s flaws and falls from (lowly) grace without spectacle or glamour.
Although the relationship between director and leading man was always fractious, co-star Eva Mattes as Marie has always spoken fondly of Kinski and their time working together.
The film is typically bleak but compelling. My score is 7 out of 10.
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