I'm not quite sure what to say about this one—
On the one hand, right off the bat, it's really great and cool and foreboding and ominous and spooky and beautifully filmed and perfectly lit and super 'cold war' feeling, occurring as it does against the gray, graffitied Berlin Wall and 1977's rather intriguing (if not somewhat convoluted and complex) "German Autumn" news reports periodically blaring over public loudspeakers describing the Baader-Meinhof Gang/Red Army Faction, their latest acts of terrorism, and their subsequently unsuccessful Stammheim prison negotiations.
None of that is really here nor there, so much as 'context' for what will be an equally convoluted and bloody movie.
Adding insult to injury, for reasons no more significant than "for the sheer sake of fun above all," Tilda Swinton has chosen to play three main characters, and it's obvious from the get-go.
Not fooling anyone, we are led to believe this will be significant, à la, "we are three in one," or some other trinity explanation forthcoming.
Um, not the case.
And so, as we limp into Act II, the seeds of confusion are really taking root. I'm wondering all the while how deeply we should interpret such choices (a woman performing as a man), distinctions between love and manipulation, female power vs. witchery, and the extent to which lingering Naziism, male domination, generational guilt, forgiveness, and motherhood matter in the scheme at hand.
Act III, of course, ends in what I gather is the equivalent of Game of Thrones' infamous "Red Wedding" episode. I won't spoil who wins and who loses here, though I'm unconvinced it matters much anyway, as even the winners seem to have lost a great deal.
A few loose ends do get tied together, but many more are left strewn on the floor, though chief among the strands is the very distinct possibility that an origin story would go a long way toward clearing things up.
I'm all for ambiguity. It's aimless ambition that drives me crazy, and that we get in spades. I have to believe, in one way or another, that we are on some sort of path toward judgment day, but before a key character can really rev up, we'll need to go in reverse for a while.