Enfant Terrible (2020) 

German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a major figure in New Wave Cinema, this film explores his life, his work, and his way of being.

Written by Klaus Richter, based on a story by Oskar Roehler who also directed, Enfant Terrible is a biographical film done with a few liberties and a lot of flair. The film itself is well done with great visuals, the story has interesting bits throughout, but something about it feels off. This may be due to preferences and how it’s all shot and put together, but something didn’t quite gel here. The film has well written and well directed scenes, they all go together well, yet, something doesn’t work right. It’s not bad, but it’s not great and when it comes to a film about a filmmaker, it should be great, it should be amazing, it should feel like it all fits together. Bringing the life of a filmmaker to film, creating images about someone who created images that were undeniably important in the history of cinema is something that is not easy and here it comes off a bit too slow, a bit too into itself. This may have been a wanted effect, but this effect did not make the film into something that is rewatchable over and over.  

Playing the titular Fassbinder is actor Oliver Masucci who does great work with the script and character he has been given. He gives many levels and layers of sadness, ennui, depression, and the occasional spot of joy. His work here is very serious and he gives the film and his character his all. His work is fantastic, amidst a film that is a lot of everything and a lot of nothing at the same time. Something that feels fitting with his performance and with the style overall here. Most of the overall cast comes and goes with everyone giving the right performance and correct emotions for each scene. It’s a very large cast and some of the casting choices are a bit surprising, but they work overall. 

The cinematography for this film is the star of many scenes. It’s one of those things that even those who do not know cinema will notice and want to see more of. The work by Carl-Friedrich Koschnick is something else here, it’s fantastic. The film has specific looks for certain scenes, colors to bring up moods and emotions, it’s well-crafted on the visual front and is not afraid to just show things that some may have stayed away from. The look of the film is basically everything here and it fits just right. 

Enfant Terrible is an interesting film in that it’s visually fantastic, with some scenes saturated with colors and atmosphere and others being quieter visually to let the characters speak for themselves. The cast does good work in this, but ultimately, the film feels too long and falls flat too often. There is a lot of good in here, but the end result is just not a film that is a watch most will enjoy or want to stay with until the end.