The Young Karl Marx

Director: Raoul Peck
Year Released: 2017
Rating: 3.0

Mr. Marx (August Diehl), known for his brashness and controversial views on the working class, meets with the wealthy son of an industrialist, Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske), and the two form the unholy (and blessed?) union that helped shape history ... for better or worse.  It's clear how Peck views them - as heroes - and there's a little more whitewashing and circle-jerking than I normally feel comfortable with, but for anyone who sat through classes covering Marx and Engels (or followers of human history since the mid-1800's) and actually read some of their texts and got curious about them, this is a spirited re-creation of their early lives, as they meet (and argue) with their idol, Proudhon (Olivier Gourmet), drag their wives all over Europe and try to rally like-minded individuals for the betterment (in their mind) of the world.  Peck celebrates the notion that carefully structured thoughts and words can, in fact, make a difference for the poor and disenfranchised ... except when rogue regimes take those philosophical principles and manipulate them for their own nefarious purposes and then punish and torture their own people.  Neither men would have advocated that.