FEBRUARY 23, 2018 -- Karl Marx is still considered one of the greatest free thinkers of all time. His collaborations with Friedrich Engels are started political revolutions across Europe and other parts of the world. For some reason, director Raoul Peck thought that Marx younger years would make for great drama.


Unfortunately, much like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud...great thinkers don't necessarily translate into entertaining drama. Even if their concepts change the world; most are boring as hell.

Peck cast August Diehl ("Inglorious Basterds", "Allied", "Salt") in the titular role beginning at the time when Marx met his life long friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels (Stephan Konarske). Engels was from a family of wealth textile manufacturers who loathed the way his dad exploited his workers for profit.


Marx in the meantime was struggling to make any money as a writer with a young wife (Vicky Krieps) and child. After writing some anti-government/anti-business stories they were banished from France and exiled to Belgium where he first encountered Engles. Engles had just written "The Condition of the Working Class in England", which Marx thought was brilliant.


The film tells how they joined the secret society called the League of the Just and the struggles they had to prove they were worthy of the group. Together with Engels, Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto for the fledgling party. But again, this is not great drama despite the acting efforts of Diehl and Konarske. In fact, the only rather amusing tidbit was that Engels and Marx drank a lot.


Peck attempted to keep the film authentic as Marx and Engels traverse between France, Belgium, Prussia and England by creating a multi-lingual dialogue. However, it becomes tedious to the moviewatcher as the actors flip from French to English to German. There is nothing out of the ordenary about the cinematography.


The film comes off as a forced homage to a brainiac. It probably would have been more amusing had his life been more fictionalized ala Tarantino.


"The Young Karl Marx" holds on as more of a biography piece that would have worked well on The History Channel rather than a mainstream biopic like "Victoria & Abdul". Aside from his great thinking, his life is too mundane.   -- GRADE C+  --   GEOFF BURTON