"Metropolis" Film Review

Updated on February 18, 2019
Kyle Atwood profile image

Kyle Atwood is a published author of fiction who plays too many video games and watches too many movies to be of sound mind.



I finally have had my chance to pay a visit to Fritz Lang's Metropolis after years and years of seeing it appear in the background of numerous films I have enjoyed, I figured it was time to see the film.

Released in 1927, Metropolis is a silent film centered around dystopian and science fiction ideas, while also preaching about class inequality. Critics have praised it as being drop-dead gorgeous and a fantastic story as well.

Let's jump into the review.



Sometime in the undesignated future, the city of Metropolis is divided in two social classes: the dominant class that lives on the surface, living comfortable lives and the worker class, who lives below the surface. The worker class is ruled by Maria, who only wants to find a middle ground between the workers and the rich, comparing them to hands and head, stating that they would need a heart between the two to survive. Enter Freder Fredersen, the son of the Lord of Metropolis Johhan Fredersen. Eventually, the two fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, Johhan decides that the workers no longer have a place in his society and creates a robot pretending to be Maria to spark a revolution to eradicate the worker class.

Still with me? Well, the plot had no problem charming me with its eerie spell. The plot may defy logic, but it is also suspiciously easy to follow as this discontinuity is a major strength of Metropolis. What makes this movie more than just an enjoyable film, is its theme of how humanity can be swallowed by its work and technology, missing out on the increasingly massive gap between them and happy life. It is a theme that can spark feelings of hope from its despair and a sense of rebellion, which can be poetic in its own way. What strikes me the most is how young the story of Metropolis is, despite being over ninety years old. It is so full of invention and thrill, yet somehow remains mentally fifteen years old, and that is beautiful, to say the least.


Considering this is a silent film, actors are given the tough task of using their body language and facial expressions to convey what message they are trying to give the audience. Everyone does their job in this regard flawlessly in Metropolis and Fritz Lang got a superstar cast to accomplish this. Even background characters hold a sense of depth with them, something a ton of modern movies forget.



Many silent films not only need great acting but also great soundtracks and Metropolis is no exception.

The sounds are mystic and filled with a real sense of melancholy and bliss, or, at times, chaos and grief. The music really speaks to me as well. For instance, when Maria's transformation takes place, the music is light and charming, despite the viewer knowing that what is happening is a plot to destroy the working class. The music is this way because of the mad scientist's discovery of life in a lifeless machine and it represents the sense of wonder he feels.

Anyway, the soundtrack is phenomenal, wouldn't expect it to be any less.


A Striking Work of Art

I've already talked about how fantastic and innocent the story of Metropolis is, so I won't go much further with that. I will, however, preach about how fantastic this film looks and sounds.

Starting with the set design, it is breathtaking and made with so much care. Despite the film being in black and white, viewers are given a real sense of color and brilliance when looking at the dominant class and a crippling sense of repression and depression when looking at the worker class.

The design of the newly transformed Maria is haunting and the haggard, strung-out look of the primary cast members is striking. On top of this, the overall mood of the film leaves a lasting impression.

Lang's work in Metropolis is the pinnacle of German expressionism, with dramatic camera angles, moody lighting, immensely stylized sets, and over-the-top theatrics.

There is one scene in particular that showcases all of these fundamental trademarks of Lang's work. Aside from the scene when the robot is first revealed, I particularly like the scene when Freder Fredersen takes over at this giant clock that has some hand in regulating temperatures in another machine. It isn't long until Freder finds that the machine is exhausting and nearly impossible to keep up with, we can see this with the look of pain, panic, and frustration playing out on Freder's face. This scene is poetic in many regards and is easily one of my favorite scenes of all time, and an essential piece when talking about Lang's films.



Metropolis is a film for the ages.

It's for those who consider themselves a romantic or a rebel.

It holds a lesson for the working class and one for the higher-ups as well.

Children could follow it, teenagers could enjoy it, and adults could be inspired by it.

When people continuously bring up Metropolis in a conversation about great silent films or historical films, it certainly deserves its place.

Most of all, Metropolis serves as the heart, linking the future and the present to the past with a message that we can all take something from.


5 stars for Metropolis

© 2019 Kyle Atwood


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)