I’ll take a chance on foreign language documentaries when they have dubbing because most of the time I’m doing other things while watching, like trying to earn a living. Donald Stellwag, the subject of Big Mäck: Gangster und Gold may know a little bit about this. He was convicted of a bank robbery and spent nine years behind bars only for it to come out later on that another large man with similar proportions was the culprit.
This documentary, which I’ll call Big Mack moving forward, isn’t about the innocence of Stellwag as much as it is whether or not he felt like he deserved a free crime.
I loved the premise. Did the documentary deliver?
What was good about Big Mack
This documentary felt like it had four or five different layers. Three of them were great. The other two, not so much. The documentary started very strongly which is actually uncommon in my opinion. We get right into the meat of the story and see a large man forced into a criminal lineup of one. It gave witnesses only one choice to select him. Justice was not on Donald’s side from the beginning.
The first layer about the bank robbery along with the story of Donald’s alleged involvement in a gold heist years later were fun. The gold element, however, almost seemed to come from out of nowhere.
Big Mack glances at yet never pursues what are some colorful characters. Donald is a pretty interesting man but we don’t get to really know him all that well. I finished this wondering who the real version of him is. I’m not convinced of his innocence or guilt. This might be a good thing for a true crime documentary. I love a good debate after.
What could have made Big Mack better
This should’ve been far more comedic. There are some unintentionally funny parts. It’s almost like an episode of My 600 Pound Life at some points as Stellwag lies on his side on a couch getting fed pastries.
My biggest gripe was the way the story was told. Too much time was spent on Donald’s mild fame in Germany. Did I mention this is a German documentary? It’s not important.
For this to have been a truly great documentary, it needed more content. Part one is about the robbery that puts him behind bars and maybe some experiences up until his release. In part two, we learn about the gold heist and the rapper Xatar who pointed the finger at Stellwag as the mastermind. We wrap things up with an easy part three that concludes it all.
Unfortunately, Big Mack was incredibly unbalanced. I didn’t care about his television appearances. I wanted to see more evidence. I was hoping for a little more mystery. Profiling the case for and against his involvement would’ve been the best course of action.
Is Big Mack worth watching?
Eh, this wasn’t that great. I felt like I wanted it over with at a certain point. The gold heist introduced in the middle gave it some new life. I don’t think the filmmakers did enough with this part of the documentary. I was left feeling underwhelming. I wouldn’t recommend this average documentary.
Overall Score: 5 out of 10
Big Mack wasn’t bad and I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching it. That’s a good thing. I also don’t care to think about it ever again. That’s not so good.
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