Big Mäck: Gangsters and Gold review: Intriguing character study of a complicated individual

Big Mäck: Gangsters and Gold is a documentary film about Donald Stellwag and his spectacular case of mistaken identity not once, but twice in his life despite the high improbability. The film is streaming on Netflix.


In 1991, Donald Stellwag was accused of robbing a bank with several witnesses placing him at the scene despite his claims that he was innocent. Stellwag is eventually found guilty and sent to prison where he spends 9 years.

Following his release, new information comes to light proving that Stellwag was right and another man of a similar build and stature confesses to the robberies, propelling Stellwag into the limelight as a victim of the miscarriage of justice.

Stellwag would go around to different talk shows and media outlets to tell his story, building his personal brand before another robbery by a known gangster rapper named Xatar drags Stellwag’s name back into the fold.

He once again claims his innocence but the more one learns about Stellwag’s past, the more one begins to doubt whether his claims are legitimate or not.


The documentary paints the perfect picture of Donald Stellwag, keeping the audience guessing on what is the actual truth. At no point are sure of Stellwag’s guilt, no matter how damning his own character might be.

Structuring it in such a way that his shady past is explored after you’ve more or less accepted that Stellwag was unfortunate is a great decision. That swerve adds a layer of intrigue to an already interesting story.

The film also makes it clear that despite his other misdemeanors, for all intents and purposes, Stellwag was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and the criminal justice system needs to be more thorough in its execution. It cannot be a case of balancing the scales.

The German film makes excellent use of techno music that the country is well-known for. The background score fits wonderfully with the rest of the film.


The film does end on a bit of a whimper despite threading a decent narrative. While it establishes that Stellwag wasn’t a shining beacon of innocence, its attempts to portray him as a potential criminal mastermind don’t land perfectly.

It stumbles its way to the end, and the testimony from Frank Vogel feels like an odd choice to see out the film.


Big Mäck: Gangsters and Gold is an engaging documentary about an individual who gets pulled into spectacular circumstances on more than one occasion and how the chances of that happening were slim to none, and yet happened to him twice. It’s a good film to check out with an interesting story being told.

Big Mäck: Gangsters and Gold
Big Mäck: Gangsters and Gold review: Intriguing character study of a complicated individual 1

Director: Fabienne Hurst, Andreas Spinrath

Date Created: 2023-03-30 12:30

Editor's Rating:

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