Fritz Lang's mad dystopia about a completely verticalized city -- its rulers live in skyscrapers, its workers toil underground -- spills over with wonders, like a sci-fi horn of plenty. Although the film is renowned for its architecture, what makes it seductive is how much organic energy Lang and his collaborators put into the imagery. Highways and air patterns course through the jutting towers of Lang's metropolis like living arteries.The director uses every particle of his huge canvas expressively, including hundreds of extras. You see them as the cracking bones and wearying sinews of this futuristic urban society, and also as its burbling plasma. There isn't a dead moment in the crowd scenes. Proletariat hordes mass like a Spartan wedge or dance in ragged ovals of movement; these compositions pound and bristle and prick your eyes wide open. Lang's outlandish act of visual imagination leaves you dazed and sated. Compared to the fast food "eye candy" surrounding it these days, "Metropolis" is a gourmet 20-course meal.
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