Fritz Lang’s vision of Metropolis depicts a city that has no middle class. In this city you are either born to be a person who is frolics in the grace of the eternal gardens or a person who works as part of the machine to keep those people blissfully happy in their garden. In the first few moments you can see the difference when a group of me with their heads hanging low walk in unison lifeless lit without ever picking up their heads to look up at 2:24:17 while at 2:21:52 “the club of the son” is introduced and it shows men dressed in good suits laughing and enjoying themselves playing sports two very distinct versions of the same city.
The movie shows a man named Freder running around chasing a girl around the garden when a beautiful woman comes into the garden with a hoard of worker children who are in awe of seeing the beauty of the over world and the beautiful woman tells the children that these people are their brothers. This moment was one of the most powerful as it set off a chain of events. Freder falls in love and chases the woman. He discovers the machines underneath him and the disgusting ways they treat other humans. Abused and over worked and risking their lives to not even be able to enjoy any of the satisfaction their hard work brings the rich people.
Freder goes to talk with his father to make him stop but his father doesn’t care at all. He accepts this as reality and scoffs at the idea that a revolt would ever happen. This shows the complete bliss that they have accepted in their lives. They feel that they are untouchable and the city will continue to be as it is without any consequences. Little did he know that the inventor Rotwag was actually conspiring against Freder’s father Joh Frederson. He creates a machine robot in the image of Frederson’s late wife and plans on using it to destroy Frederson’s city and to destroy his son.
It is also discovered that during this time that a lot of the workers are going to the catacombs and Joh and Rotwag go to try and discover what it was they were plotting. They discover that the lady Maria is there spreading religion and hope that one day a mediator would come. She tells the story of Babel which is a biblical story that talked about men trying to build a tower to reach the Stars so they would be God and would not need God. God then gets angry and makes them all speak different languages so they can’t communicate. This theme of religion ties in very close to this movie because the rich act as God and they act as they are in the position of power and they can control who they please. The poor and the rich also don’t speak the same language. They may be humans and they may literally speak the same language but they cannot communicate because of the great gap between the societies.
The man-machine that Rotwag eventually leads the men into a revolt as it takes the face of Maria and influences the men to revolt. The men revolt and they drown the entire city. Then the men revolt against Maria as they realize they are drowning in their city because of her. They burn her at the stake to find that she was actually the man machine Rotwag had made. The real Maria was being captured by Rotwang in confusion as he thought she was the robot. Rotwag is defeated and at 2:10 Freder finally becomes the mediator. He shakes the hand of Joh Frederson and the workers.
The moral of the story is stated at the end and states “the mediator of the hands and the head must be the heart“. Freder became the mediator and became the heart to the story of the city. Freder became the compassion that his father lacked and he became the voice for the men who had nothing but fear against the city that they upheld.