28.02.2019 | First Press review of "M - A City HUNTS a Murderer"

“Feschism, fake news, refugee politics: writer and director Schalko builds a murder hunt out of this that does not submit to the rules of current serial television. Social realism interests him as little as psychological identification potential. Even the victim’s parents seem selfishly motivated in their grief. A Country Eats Its Children….Absolutely worth seeing.”


“The series is not just a remake, but a homage right down to the imagery.”

-Süddeutsche Zeitung

“David Schalko’s M – A City Hunts a Murderer is fun, scares you, amazes you, gives you goosebumps, disgusts you, creeps you out, infuriates you. In short, M is good television that you’ll want to keep watching.”

Der Standard

“To remake the classic “M – A City Hunts a Murderer” is actually sacrilege. But David Schalko has succeeded in doing the impossible. The film ingeniously tells of right-wing populism.

…It has become a film that will tell those born later how right-wing populism tried to seize power at the end of the decade. It is the film of the hour.”

Die Welt

“If Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Bernhard had ever wanted to make a television series together, it could have turned out similarly. Schalko succeeds in creating a period piece carried by his ensemble, determined by the will to comment on the present and a pronounced will to form.”


“M – A City Hunts a Murderer has many atmospheric moments: the deserted, snow-covered Vienna in which the final hunt for the killer takes place. The depiction of the different forms of grief and pain of the bereaved. And also the imaginative references to film. The famous Peer Gynt melody whistled by the killer is used humorously several times in the series.”

Zeit online

“M is big, bold series art, has its own visual language and an impressive ensemble…”

Kleine Zeitung

“A manipulative rush of images and messages that makes long not so creepy – and yet is much more dangerous than whistling in the empty alley.”


“The result is wicked, illuminating and politically red-hot.”

Oberösterreichische Nachrichten

“Only tentatively does the full extent of the madness that settles over the city like a fever unfold in “M”. With the first symptoms, the pain slowly creeps into the limbs, the story, which is laid out like a chamber play, piece by piece unleashes its hideous splendor. Visually, the Lower Austrian-born director, who can rely on actors like Udo Kier and Sophie Rois, is once again in a class of his own: “M” goes much further than most series dare to, but without copying a cinema aesthetic.”

Vorarlberger Nachrichten

“From the first sequence, in which the camera wonderfully choreographed approaches Elsie from a bird’s-eye view and then follows a balloon flying away (which looks just as eerie as in Fritz Lang) back up into the air, “M – A City Hunts a Murderer” has an atmospheric pull that you can’t escape….

M – A City Hunts a Murderer” manages the balancing act between satire and suspense, the series is a socio-political commentary with fairy tale leanings, which with its exaggerated images is even better at home on the big screen (as at the Berlinale premiere) than on the TV screen.”


“Top-class cast, artful and highly political theater in series…David Schalko has created a small work of art”


“Superbly cast and grandly filmed, “M” thus becomes a masterpiece because the series first pretends to be a criminalistic search for the perpetrator and then, stylized and enriched with childish myths, fears and conundrums, reveals abysses. And these must be faced again and again. Despite padded snow globe everyday life”.


„This story quickly grabs you being less a crime thriller than a psychogram of a big city“

Die Presse

“…steals your Breath…“

Tiroler Tageszeitung

„A lot of cheers at Berlin Premiere…“


„The new version of Fritz Längs classic „M – A City Hunts a Murderer” is a great six-parter“

Leipziger Volkszeitung”The result is a highly political farce in the form of a relentless commentary on the current state of the Alpine Republic….So Schalko’s series fits stylistically into his overall oeuvre, from which the experimental “Sendung ohne Namen” and his no less innovative series format “Braunschlag” continue to stand out in particular. The present six-part series could add a third title to this list.”


“How Schalko exaggerates but rarely caricatures this panopticon is his unique selling point….The everyday variete of this border crosser blurs all eccentricity so virtuously into the mainstream until even quite ordinary investigators (fabulous: Sarah Viktoria Frick and Christian Dolezal) stand out more from the round of juicy characters than a balloon salesman in a clown costume they meet at every crime scene. Schalko’s sense of rose montage in Ash Wednesday therefore never quite throws the carnival of absurdities off balance. Thus “M” proves that even a station like RTL, with the right showrunner in the right place, can create television that has more wit  and creativity in two minutes than 23 years of “Cobra 11.””

Neues Deutschland

“In the end, M is perhaps more of a cipher: for the paranoia in all of us, for the socio-psychological impoverishment not only of Austrian society.”

Jüdische Allgemeine

“They are all prototypes rather than real characters. But that is not a shortcoming here, but an artifice, since they stand for more than just a single fate….And so the characters creep around each other in this nightmare, which is theatrical, surreal and episodic in the best sense. They meet each other in thoroughly choreographed, strikingly slow staged scenes, the kind you’d rather expect on stage than in RTL’s streaming offering.”

Schwäbische Zeitung

„To restagee a classic like “M”, is daring. In General the plea against Lynch law is also convincing as a series …“


“With his artificial film miniatures and overdrawn characters, Schalko drags a horrifying reality to the surface, otherwise teeming beneath the thin crust of civil society, in which the actors from media, politics, the judiciary and the underworld all want to conceal the truth. In times of fake news and burgeoning fascism, a sadly appropriate morality tale – like Lang’s original – for which Mediengruppe RTL was immediately rewarded with a premiere at the Berlinale.”

Focus Online

„A real Highlight“

tv direkt

“Schalko’s M is a chilling piece, a melancholic memento mori… …. He has distilled a romance of decay from the specific Austrian fluidity of fashion and glamour, of the morbid and the perfidious…”

Rolling Stone Magazin

„Schalko exploits every opportunity to create a modern masterpiece with  “M””


“Schalko’s directorial voice and sense of humor are unmistakable, which is why M – A City Hunts a Murderer now stands apart not only from the original film, but from everything else.”


“Schalko, with the help of his cinematographer Martin Gschlacht, succeeds in creating the oppressive and surreal atmosphere full of shadows in a kind of homage, which already made Lang’s film special as one of the first German sound film productions. Bright colors are used purposefully, while the world often seems desaturated, cold and empty. And yet many shots seem like a Viennese’s visual declaration of love to his hometown.”


“…It is precisely this highly artificial world that works particularly well as a mirror of actual social conditions, because it reveals the distorted logic of argumentation and driving forces.”


“Admittedly, both the scripts, which Schalko wrote together with his wife Evi Romen, and strong acting performances ensure that the visuals by no means remain l’art pour l’art. Narratively, the thriller draws its suspense from two rich sources: on the one hand, the ever-tightening encirclement of the child killer by rival parts of the general mob; on the other, the psychological burning-glass analyses of the central characters’ deep inner conflicts and resulting motives for action. No one is abysmally bad in a moral sense, but each bears some guilt and believes much more guilt in the other.”


Schalko has already proven with his previous miniseries “Braunschlag” and especially “Old Money” that he can not only write wonderfully absurd and laconic dialogs, but is also a great stylist. This time, however, his images (camera: Martin Gschlacht) have reached such a degree of stylization that you could hang many of them on your wall as film stills. The authors (Schalko/Romen) work out the timeless and unfortunately still contemporary political and social aspects of Fritz Lang’s film more strongly and reflect them in the often seemingly absurd domestic reality of today’s Austria.

Once again, one has to admire the courage of the ORF executives to take on such a project in this form. At ARD and ZDF, such a series with its rather clear commentary on government policy would be inconceivable today (at the German private stations anyway).”


“Capturing unease in images is something the production “M – A City Hunts a Murderer” has done really well. One is not sure whether the director’s name is David Schalko or David Lynch, the cameraman (Martin Gschlacht) and the music supervisor (Dorit Chrysler) in any case also have a lot to do with the fact that one now suspects abysses everywhere in Vienna.”


„Lang’s first sound film, M made innovative use of sounds like the murderer’s skin-crawling whistling of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” which is reprised to good effect by music supervisor Dorit Chrysler.“

Hollywood Reporter