I am of two minds when it comes to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sole trek into “sci-fi.” Throughout, his touch–stylized but never over the top–is assured. He shot the film, originally a TV movie, in 16 mm, which gives it an appropriately grainy, lurid texture; and Michael Ballhaus’s cinematography stuns. It’s rich with blue hues, and makes the most of modernist German architecture. I get that the story, a semi-sluggish trip into a “world on a wire” (a fragile, bent state of mind that may be the real world in which the hero seeks a real “reality”), is supposed to be disorienting. That’s part of the fun. But I wish the film had more zip. Less mannered and less flashy than A Clockwork Orange, (perhaps the only other great look at a future-is-now dystopia from around that time), it lulls you along without making you notice you’re in the hands of a great filmmaker who’s as taken with the world of artifice as he is the concept behind it.