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The American Soldier

The American Soldier – 1970
Amerikanische Soldat, Der
Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Karl Scheydt
Elga Sorbas
Jan George

Review by Zetes

For fans only,

Not one of Fassbinder’s best, but certainly worth a look for those interested in the man’s work. In mood and style, it’s reminiscent of Godard’s Alphaville, and my reactions to both films are similar. I am intrigued, but a bit bored. And I don’t think either succeed in the end.

The American Soldier concerns a haughty German-American soldier, fresh from Vietnam, who struts around killing people for reasons which are kept mostly obscure (he’s some kind of gangster or hitman). The police are after him, though the police seem just as wicked.

I didn’t care much about what was going on – no compelling reason was ever given for me to care. However, many elements of the film impressed me. Fassbinder’s idiosyncratic sense of pace and mood pervades. The performances are pretty good. Fassbinder himself appears in a small role and, as usual, he delivers a remarkable performance. He has to be the best actor/director of all time.

Peer Raben never seems to write a lot of music for Fassbinder’s films. Instead, he just writes one theme that is used several times throughout the given picture. They are always exceptional, and his theme (and also theme song, which is the same tune with lyrics added) is excellent here.

And then there’s this ending. Fassbinder has a talent for unique and notable endings, and the end of this film is one of the weirdest and most remarkable I’ve ever seen. 7/10.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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