In 1837, Georg Büchner wrote a semi-finished theatrical play, which coincided with his death.
Woyzeck is basically the story of a military man who had a illegitimate boy with a prostitute, Marie, and it happen that the whole village knows about this incident. Therefore, Woyzeck (which is the name of the main character, played by Klaus Kinski, who’s known for its long collaboration with the director Werner Herzog), is trying to provide them with money, and to do so, he finds himself shaving his captain, and participating to some scientific experiences a doctor is leading.
When Woyzeck is introduced to us, he’s already at the beginning of his insanity; he’s hearing voices, people crying, he is seeing smoke and fire. As if, Herzog, wanted to show the guilt of the jew genocide and the impact it had for generations.
However, from now on, the man is no longer free but controlled, whether it is because of the military orders he is given, his duty as a father or because of his insanity. Through Klaus Kinski’s outstanding performance, and his crazy eyes, we can understand the suffering of a man, pushed out of a society that sees him as a pariah and bullying him, physically and emotionally.
Some scenes, are perfectly illustrating this, such as the first one, where Woyzeck is doing push ups, as a soldier is kicking him, and as the camera is clearly putting the main character, by focusing on him, in a position of inferiority comparing to the other from who we are only seeing the feet. And in another scene where he’s watching a street play with his son and his mistress, this one leaves him to go and sit with another man, to who later, she will offer her body.
Woyzeck is experiencing a lot of bad treatments, and keep them hidden, without saying a word. The problem is, the voices in his head, want him to express himself, and let it all out. That’s how we got the most powerful scene of the movie: Klaus Kinski, stabbing Eva Mattes (Marie), in slow motion and on a beautiful piece of opera, as a musical background.