When this was over, I felt like I'd seen one of my favorite films ever. I've calmed down a bit since, though I'm unapologetic for having such a reaction. A film like this seems to demand it. Gloriously intense - reading reviews afterwards, I see Luc Sante likens it to having been in a fistfight with yourself - seems about right. This is a brutal film, yet not without humor (the gag with the ringing phone where it seems like we might finally hear Marlene speak, only to have Petra pick it up instead) or ecstatic cinematic highs (the Walker Brothers scene).
Cast is great, so completely in tune with one another, but Margit Carstensen is def the ace. Shooting the entire film in one confined space (and to think it was a real location, not a set) was probably a headache, but it pays real dividends with a sense of real spacial dimension.
That final scene manages to add so much to the story by doing so little.
Marlene, packing her bag (and I love the way she goes back and forth in and out of the frame as she does this), the little pause as she drops the pistol: she could be saying, "I could still shoot her if I want.' Or maybe she wants Petra sees the gun, as if to say, "You're lucking things are ending this way and not more violently."
Plus, this is my goddamn Walker Brothers record, and I'm taking it with me!