Watch Gods of the Plague
- 1 hr 31 min
Gods of the Plague, a gritty German crime drama from 1970, is a film that explores the dark underbelly of society through the eyes of a hardened criminal. The film, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, follows the story of Franz - a former boxer turned gangster - as he navigates a web of violence and corruption in post-war Germany. Played with captivating intensity by actor Harry Baer, Franz is a brooding, enigmatic figure brought to life with remarkable depth and nuance.
At the outset of the film, Franz is newly released from prison and looking for a way to re-establish himself in the criminal underworld. He reconnects with his former girlfriend, Johanna (played by Margarethe von Trotta), who works in a seedy bar and has become involved with a low-level gangster named Bruno. As Franz becomes enmeshed in the world of organized crime once again, he finds himself torn between his old love for Johanna and a new infatuation with Margarethe, a nightclub singer played by Hanna Schygulla.
The relationships between these three characters are at the heart of Gods of the Plague, and Fassbinder's script gives each of them their own distinct backstory and motivations. As Franz tries to keep both women in his life satisfied while also navigating the treacherous alliances of the criminal underworld, tension steadily mounts and violence erupts in unexpected ways.
The film's pacing is deliberate and measured, building a sense of dread and tension that culminates in a climactic sequence of bloodshed and betrayal. Fassbinder's directorial style is stark and unflinching, with a focus on gritty realism that makes Gods of the Plague feel like a true crime story unfolding before the viewer's eyes.
The performances by Baer, von Trotta, and Schygulla are all exceptional, with each actor bringing a unique energy and complexity to their role. Baer is particularly impressive as Franz, capturing the character's brooding intensity and simmering rage in a way that is both captivating and unsettling.
Gods of the Plague is a film that rewards close attention and reflection, with themes of loyalty, betrayal, and morality all woven into its intricate narrative. It is a gripping crime drama that explores the darkest corners of the human psyche with raw honesty and unflinching realism.
Overall, Gods of the Plague is a must-see film for anyone interested in the history of German cinema or the crime genre more broadly. It is a masterful work of art that showcases the talents of Fassbinder and his remarkable cast, and is a haunting exploration of the human condition that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll.