"M" is probably one of the best "early" suspenseful crime films out there. There is not many movies that are that powerful as "M" is. It's one of Peter Lorre's best roles and one of Fritz's Lang best directorial films. Fact actually this is Fritz Lang's first sound film and it was released in 1931. His then wife Thea von Harbou helped write the plot to "M."
This German film takes the plot of a child murderer who is running around in Berlin. Everyone in the town are on edge and paranoia sets in. The police don't have any leads so that makes everyone a suspect. People start accusing their own neighbors before they know who the killer is. It's like the witch trials or something. You though have to feel sorry for these people, it's a frightening subject matter.
Well a group of criminals basically Berlin's underworld are tired of this as they call 'creep' running around so they decide to take matters in their own hands. Like when one says, their crime that they do (rob banks) is to make a living. That little twist kind of makes "M" like not many other films. It's not just the police who want this child killer, it's these harden criminals that want justice. He's giving them a bad name. It's ironic almost that even these harden criminals are after him. It kind of asks the viewer, how evil is too evil? Lorre's character is very evil and very insane.
This is what Lang had to say about "M" to film historian Gero Gandert:
At the time I decided to use the subject matter of M there were many serial killers terrorizing Germany — Haarmann, Grossmann, Kürten, Denke," (Source: Wiki)
The film is well paced and the whole cast seemed to give their all for this thriller. Lang made the film fell very realistic which makes it a scary subject matter. The ending scenes make the film even more memorable. There is a reason why "M" has a 100% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and this reviewer agrees a 100%. It's a film that will tug at all the emotions, anger, sadness, like the townspeople and the mothers feel.
"M" will give anyone 'harden' film buff the chills. Full of moral issues, murder, and just pure urban horror, "M" is that film that will always be on the top of list as one of the greatest German films from the 30s. "M" also did help make Peter Lorre an international success. This Fritz Lang 1931 German film gets a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Still in 2013 this is a powerful and chilling film.