Part thriller, part social history, this tense 2008 drama traces the rise and fall of the Baader-Meinhof gang, a violent communist terror group whose track record of carnage across West Germany in the late 60s and early 70s made the Weather Underground look like a tea party. Faithfully adapting a 1985 nonfiction book by Stefan Aust, producer-screenwriter Bernd Eichinger takes the time to particularize the German political climate beyond the usual 60s boilerplate before plunging into the heated politics within the gang, whose namesakes were a ruthless criminal, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), and an intellectual journalist, Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck). The gang’s deadly wave of bombings and bank robberies is electrifying, but the movie becomes even more engrossing after the principals are captured in 1972; standing trial, they eventually turn on each other and watch helplessly as a new generation of terrorists invokes their names but spins out of control. Uli Edel directed. R, 150 min.