Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?


This 1970 release is one of the earliest films from German workhorse Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Michael Fengler shares writing and directing credits), who made more than 40 films in less than two decades before dying of a drug overdose at the age of 37. Kurt Raab plays Herr R., a meek, repressed technical draftsman who kills his wife and child for no obvious reason. Fassbinder implicates the audience in Herr R.’s crime in Sadean fashion, stretching out idle conversations and mundane workdays until we root for Herr R. to commit murder just to break up the monotony. This presents a bit of a critical quandary: While I can’t in good conscience recommend a film that is unbearably boring, Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? stuck with me a lot longer than most movies I’ve enjoyed watching.