Monday Movie: M
Berlin is in a state of panic: a killer stalks its streets, luring children away to be murdered. The authorities respond by checking papers and performing daily raids against the usual suspects - prompting the city's leading criminal organisation to launch a manhunt of its own. They believe that the murderer ruining their reputations and livelihoods may in fact be an otherwise respectable member of society...
Fritz Lang's M, the first ever serial killer film, is tense and visually striking. Deliciously dark at times, it also shows a surprising sense of humour. The depiction of forensic science and of criminals banding together against a child-killer are startlingly modern, while the almost omnipresent crime syndicate lends the story a slightly otherworldly quality.
Lang takes a multi-layered perspective on the grim subject matter. On the surface a quite heavy-handed warning against "stranger danger" for both parents and children, M also covers more nuanced issues, such as the distinction between mere criminality and true evil - or responsibility and insanity.