The movie begins in Berlin in a courtyard of an apartment building with showing kids playing and singing. This starts the movie off with easing of the mind and a breath of fresh air, also watching this beginning scene is reminiscent of childhood and how it can be fun. Next, a woman walks by with a load of laundry to load and orders them to stop in a very cranky tone, then proceeds to finish washing her laundry. She then hears her daughter, Elsie Beckmann’s friends coming home and asks where Elsie is. Unknown to her Elsie is kidnapped and murdered by a man who preys on children. At first we’re only shown a shadow silhouette of the man behind the murder and only see Elsie’s ball rolling out the shadows of long grass, thus again giving the feeling of suspense and mystery. She becomes increasingly worried as no one knows where she is and she shouts for her frantically. The still quiet and empty scenes that are shown as she calls Elsie’s name gives off a chilling feel of drama and suspense. This scene shows the hard realities of life and how it can also at times be very frightening.
The next day, the newspapers report more murderers occurring around the nation. As such, panic ensues and nearly everyone begins to accuse one another of being the person responsible for the murders and everyone fears instability will run rampant. This also puts fear on the underworld who feel this serial killer will ruin their businesses as the police have staged several raids and interrogating any and every lowlife to get to the bottom of these murders. This subtly shows the same kind of fear and issues in societies such as the United States were experiencing similar fears with the Great Depression with the economy in a very terrifying state panicking many people during that time period and also allowed some underworld businesses to thrive through some of their illegal activities, which gives some irony on the underworld leaders in the movie worry about one little serial killer making the plot of the film more engaging in it’s own way.
A blind balloon salesman remembers hearing a strange, eerie whistling tune from the killer, which is his calling card to lure the children to him, making him like a Pied Piper of Berlin. Later in the film, the killer whistles the same tune near blind balloon salesman, who immediately alerts one of his friends who enlists the help of others to keep tabs on him. One of them writes a large M on his hand and makes it seem as though he accidentally trips to place it on the killer’s shoulder. Eventually the killer discovers he’s being followed and attempts to escape only to caught by Der Schränker’s team. Then he’s placed before a gangster-like court system and tries to make an insanity plea to them, but most of the gangsters still feel he’s better off dead. But before they try to kill him, the police discover and break into their place after getting the location of the gangster’s whereabouts from one of the other gangsters caught in the building the killer and gangsters were, Franz.
The movie ends with no resolve to how the criminal was dealt with in order to pay for his actions, which leads viewers to draw their own possible conclusion of what could happen as well as form and express their own thoughts on what should have happened leaving yet another mystery to solve. I enjoyed the irony and the mystery. It made the movie that much more intriguing to me.