Sunday, March 9, 2008


Authenticity is a difficult thing to find in this film. Everyone has an agenda, they all want to hide their flaws and appear better than they are. For the most part, the characters all attempt to fit into the role they are expected to fill. Redl calls himself Hungarian when dealing with his friend’s family, but becomes Ukrainian when he is dealing with Franz Ferdinand, and he is a Jew when he is talking to a Jewish soldier. We really never know what Redl is…he is an enigma until the end. Other characters are equally deceptive; Franz Ferdinand is trying to gain advantage through various intrigues. I believe that he targets Redl early on in his quest for power, and when he tells him to seek a double he already knows that he will entrap Redl. Katalin is deceiving her husband, while her brother Kristof is busy deceiving his various lovers. Kristof is pretending to be worthy of the uniform, but he is a dissolute self indulgent aristocrat. The only really authentic characters are Colonel Roden, who seems to love Redl as a son, and Clarissa, the sick wife. Neither of them seem to be after anything more than love, but they are just pawns in the game. This is a sad, very troubling story that forces the audience to engage with its characters. It is really hard to gage the “authentic” emotions. Roden seems to genuinely love Redl, even buying back the leather case that he gave Redl after his suicide, but this could easily be in his own self-interest also-perhaps he simply did not want to be known as the man behind Redl. Clarissa seems to adore, or perhaps, worship her husband, but she is just a convenience to him. The saddest thing about this movie is the adoration and loyalty of Redl to the Emperor. He truly loves the old regime, and wants to do what is best for his emperor, but he is stymied at every turn; completely wrapped up in political intrigues and trapped in a life that he hates. Redl wanted to achieve greatness but he seems to always remain the little boy trying to find the right answer. In this, his emotions are completely authentic.

1 comment:

annieguiler said...

I would agree with you that I too think that Clarissa, Redl's wife, could be viewed as authentic. I really feel sorry for her as well. The movie portrays her like a foyer floor mat. She continues to be tossed around and get stepped on. She seems to love Redl, even though the marriage was arranged. She seems to show her support to Redl, although she doesn't appear to agree with him at all times, but all she wants is a normal family with a husband and children. Even after her faithfulness to her cheating husband, she still comes to his side in the end.