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Germany 1970
Directed by
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
80 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The American Soldier

The final and most readily consumable of Fassbinder’s “gangster trilogy”, The American Soldier sticks quite closely to its American B-grade exemplars with Karl Scheydt as Ricky, a Glenn Ford-like hitman who has returned to his native Munich from America to carry out some jobs. Of course, this is Fassbinder, so the formal disruptions and excesses cut through the conventional transparency of the fictional story, which itself takes a weird turn when Ricky goes home to visit his mother and brother. Here some kind of incestuous back story is suggested that looks forward to the "melodramatic" form to which Fassbinder's particular sensibility was best suited (given that it was already inherently excessive) and for which the director is best remembered.

DVD Extras: Anyone who sees one of Fassbinder’s “gangster’ films needs to see the others so this 3 disc Madman release with all three films will be a must-have but also included is an informative essay on the trilogy by Rolando Caputo, Associate Lecturer in Cinema Studies, LaTrobe University. Each film comes with extra material, however, this one with an audio commentary by Ross Gibson, Professor of Contemporary Arts, University of Sydney.

Available from: Madman




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