All this takes place in the first 20 or 30 minutes of the movie. The remainder of the film takes us through increasing escalations of violence and the consequent tightening of the screws by the German government in their search for the RAF's members. Bank robberies, kidnappings, bombings of US military bases, and more murders cause the entire country to become engulfed in an almost paranoid reaction.
"The RAF was in fact the group most important in efforts at forming a broad, leftist, anti-capitalist front throughout Europe," says author Brenda J. Lutz in her book Global Terrorism. Yet the RAF's membership never exceeded the low hundreds, while there was at least one time that the German government mobilized over 100,000 police, military, and quasi-military, all armed, in an attempt to wipe out them and their supporters, employing traffic stops and building and apartment searches nationwide, and bringing the entire country to a halt.
During this time, I was on the opposite side of the RAF, being in the US Army. The US Army was also one of the groups of people the RAF had in their crosshairs, and US military bases in Germany were under attack, with several bombings by the RAF. But, like other anarchist groups in existence then, and predominantly in the Western world, I still had to admire their courage and tenacity to stand up against such obviously overwhelming odds.
There are some dynamic and dramatic camera techniques to appreciate in the film, especially in one scene showing the four main "leaders" of the RAF during their trial. Several scenes show the four sitting behind their microphones in the courtroom. A later scene again shows the four microphones, but now only three of the chairs behind them are occupied. Sorry, I can't tell you why, though, or it would spoil some of the more dramatic parts of this gripping film.
Considering the RAF drama was a mainstay of the world news almost daily for so many years, The Baader Meinhof Complex is bound to gain even more attention now that it's been recently released in the US. Reading the European reviews, I did see some which were highly critical of certain aspects of the movie. One critic said the film included too much. I vehemently disagree. The music, as I mentioned, is perfect for the film, the acting is superb, the camera work and editing are flawless. My only complaint is that are times that the action is so intense and gripping, I had to back the movie up to understand what happened. That's a complaint?