Connect with us

Foreign Movie

Movie Review: “Effigy – Poison and the City” – A Captivating Dive into History and the Psychology of a Killer.



Set against the backdrop of 19th-century Bremen, “Effigy – Poison and the City” is a gripping tale of two women navigating a society that offers little space for their ambitions and desires. 

Directed by Udo Flohr, this film delves into the true story of Gesche Gottfried, a woman who shocked the world with her heinous crimes of killing 15 people, including her parents, her three children, her twin brother, three husbands, and some friends and neighbours.

The narrative unfolds gradually, drawing viewers into a world where societal norms clash with individual aspirations. As the story progresses, the mystery surrounding Gottfried‘s actions deepens, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats as they unravel the motives behind her crimes. The pacing, though initially slow, builds tension effectively, culminating in a climax that leaves a lasting impact.

Visually, the film captures the essence of the era without unnecessary embellishments, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the rawness of 19th-century Germany.

Suzan Anbeh delivers a compelling performance as Gesche Gottfried, portraying her with a chilling mix of cunning and manipulation. Through her portrayal, Anbeh keeps viewers guessing, blurring the lines between innocence and guilt.

However, “Effigy” is not solely focused on Gottfried‘s atrocities; it also sheds light on the struggles of another woman, Cato Bohmer, played impeccably by Elisa Thieman. Bohmer‘s determination to defy gender norms and pursue a career in law adds depth to the narrative, offering a contrasting perspective to Gottfried‘s actions. Thieman‘s portrayal breathes life into Bohmer, providing a compelling counterbalance to Gottfried’s darkness.

This character is crucial to the film’s intensity as the story unfolds primarily from her perspective. Additionally, the character provides timely voiceover narrations that guide viewers through the narrative. Observing Bohmer in her role as a legal secretary for the Senator during the investigations also assists viewers in comprehending and dissecting the findings as the narrative advances.

The film’s commitment to authenticity is evident in its attention to detail, supported by the historical accuracy captured in the Wikipedia page dedicated to Gottfried‘s story. Despite the unsettling subject matter, “Effigy” refrains from glorifying violence, opting for a dialogue-heavy approach that emphasizes drama over sensationalism. The predominantly German dialogue, accompanied by accessible subtitles, ensures that the story remains engaging and easy to follow.

While “Effigy” may not be an easy watch for some due to its grim subject matter, its pacing and its look and feel, its significance transcends mere entertainment. 

By the film’s conclusion, viewers are left with a deeper understanding of Gottfried‘s impact on psychology and societal perceptions of female criminals. Moreover, the narrative prompts reflection on the challenges and opportunities faced by women in the 19th century, echoing themes that remain relevant today.

I would score this film 7 out of 10. Even for aficionados of period dramas, this film may necessitate some dedication to fully immerse oneself and appreciate its nuances. Yet, investing your attention ultimately proves rewarding. “Effigy – Poison and the City” offers a gripping historical drama that captivates viewers with its portrayal of two pivotal characters. From start to finish, it delivers an intense narrative that showcases great filmmaking, to say the least. 

“Effigy – Poison and the City” is a poignant exploration of history and psychology, brought to life by stellar performances and meticulous attention to detail. Through its gripping storytelling and nuanced character portrayals, the film leaves a lasting impression, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities of human nature and the enduring struggles for gender equality.

If you appreciate period pieces or even murder investigation-type films, this should be on your watchlist.

Effigy – Poison and the City | Trailer | 4K Ultra HD from GeekFrog Media on Vimeo.


Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Pay only 35% upfront fee for film gear rental.

GhMovieFreak TV

#BloGhAwards18 Winner

GhMoviefreak is an official media partner for