A murderer of children stalks the streets of Berlin. Four and a half million people live in terror for eight months. The police are without a clue and work round the clock tracking down leads. The criminals suffer even more, with daily police raids grinding their businesses down to a halt. They chafe also at the accusation that this monster must be from amongst them. Not so. They are better than him. They don't kill without a reason.
And so they must find him. And kill him. But because they have rules, because they are better than him, they will give him a trial...
"You must be taken out of action! You must go!"
"But I can't help it! I can't... I really can't... help it!"
"We know that one! Before the judge, we all 'can't help it.'"
"What would you know? What are you talking about? Who are you anyway? Who are you? All of you. Criminals. Probably proud of it, too. Proud you can crack a safe or sneak into houses or cheat at cards. All of which it seems to me you could just as easily give up if you had learned something useful, or if you had jobs or if you weren't such lazy pigs. But me? Can I do anything about it? Don't I have this cursed thing inside me? This fire, this voice, this agony?"
"So you mean to say you have to kill?"
"I have to roam the streets endlessly, always sensing that someone's following me. It's me! I'm shadowing myself! Silently... but I still hear it! Yes, sometimes I feel like I'm tracking myself down. I want to run, run away from myself! But I can't! I can't escape from myself! I must take the path that it's driving me down and run and run down endless streets! I want off! And with me run the ghosts of the mothers and children. They never go away. They're always there! Always! Always! Always! Except when I'm doing it. When I... Then I don't remember a thing. Then I'm standing before a poster, reading what I've done. I read and read... I did that? I don't remember a thing! But who will believe me? Who knows what it's like inside me? How it screams and cries out inside me when I have to do it! Don't want to! Must! Don't want to! Must! And then a voice cries out, and I can't listen anymore! Help! I can't! I can't! I can't..."
This is why I watch films. Because they take me to places I've never been to. Because they make me one with a serial killer. Because they remind me that people living in glass houses should not throw stones.