The Baader Meinhof Complex is the docudrama style story of the birth and evolution of the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorist group during the tumultuous frenzy of the late 60s and 70s. Having missed out on this time in history, which was glossed over when I went to school, I was fascinated by this slice of the past that is equally relevant to the world we live in today.

It’s an eye-opening look at the mindset of the terrorist, the conditions that lead to and foster terrorism, and the fine line of how an act of protest or resistance can lead a people or person to cross over to the very tactics that they claim to be against. What the film depicts with a clear, unflinching eye is that while those who use terror may have started with a justifiable cause, the tactics of the terrorist are in the end futile. Their violent means obscure the wrongs originally inflicted upon them and instead doom their cause.

The film could have benefited by losing a good 20 minutes but that’s the only and minor issue with this meticulously put together account that shows the endless spiral of terrorism, which has many victims and no winners.

The core of The Baader Meinhof Complex is the question asked by Horst Herold, the head of the German police who recognizes “It is in part our ignorance which promotes terrorism. The question is whether terrorism represents a new form of warfare. Whether it replaces the big war which is currently not taking place.”

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