The Young Karl Marx chronicles the period when young Karl Marx meets his future long-term friend and co-author Friedrich Engels and the several following years. During the Berlinale press conference dedicated to the film Raoul Peck was asked if he read Karl Marx. He answered that he attended seminars dedicated to Marx’s Capital. His film is reminiscent of such a seminar; interminable and tedious.
There are many dialogues, questions, answers however the film completely lacks artistic vision. There is no interesting music, camera-work or a gripping plot.
Raoul Peck tried to underline the more materialistic side of his relationship with Jenny, showing his sex life and child birth. To deprive Marx of certain romanticism is also not fair, the young philosopher was a romantic of his own kind; he was engaged for seven years to Jenny and dedicated many poems to her.
The discussions depicted in the film are too primitive for such great thinkers such as Marx, Engels, Proudhon and Bakunin. The proletariat, on the other hand, is shown as a group of people with abject faces and feeble children, which makes the ideas of Marx about the proletariat too idealistic and not connected to reality.
One of the positive sides of the picture is that Peck did not try to distort facts about the people in the film, however after the film finishes one feels relieved that the drawn-out seminar on Karl Marx is finally over.