Why Fritz Lang’s M is a milestone in crime thriller genre

Directed by Fritz Lang,the 1931 movie successfully proved to be a milestone in the history ofnot only the German cinema but the entire world’s cinema. Mis a crime thriller that revolvesaround the search of a child murderer. 

The theme of this movie is dark and gloomy, just what the German Expressionistmovies revolve around. To ensure that the dark environment stays intensified the director hasemployed various sharp shadows. The plot of the movie is concerned with how a child serial killer lures little kids and then murdersthem. The whole city is terrified and parents stay anxious about their kids. In the beginning, thePolice department remains somewhat ignorant and takes the matter lightly. It is, however afterthe murder of a little girl Elsie Beckmannthat the matter escalates.

Plot – The murderer, Hans Beckertis portrayed as a mentally unstable man. The climax scene wherehe confesses the crime has been beautifully crafted. It speaks for the mentally unhealthy andhow a person suffering from such diseases actually reacts. This ultimately leads to heinouscrimes such as murders. The character of the serial killer has been played by Peter Lorreand itwon’t be wrong to state that he did a complete justice to the role.

Elements – Various elements have been employed in the movie. The poster declaring a money reward foranyone who gives the whereabouts of the murderer is shown pasted on a pole. A shadow,probably that of the murderer overlaps the poster. Similarly, shadows have been employed inmany other scenes as well.  Mirror shots can also be seen in the movie. The sequence where Beckert adjusts his smile inthe mirror is marvelous. In a way, it presents a horrifying and creepy side of the man. Though inthis scene it has not been revealed about him being the murderer, this is the point where theaudience starts to suspect him.

Smoke – It is yet another signature element of this movie. The officers and other people are alwaysseen smoking cigars. The smoke is always visible. One also witnesses the smoke from a kettleor steamer in a restaurant. Briefly speaking, smoke has been used as an element to depict ablurred state of confusion. Smoke is employed as an imagery for the hidden identity of themurderer.

Setting – The setting is also depressing and disturbing. In fact, the song sung by the children in the initialsequence of the movie has a dark meaning. The wrecked building where the murdererconfesses his crime, the broken windows, blind man, even the whistle tone blown by themurderer are all dark in nature.

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