Roger Ebert reviews the Baader-Meinhof Complex film and rates it 2,5 out of 4. I watched it on DVD a couple of months ago and my immediate impression was that I would have been completely lost if I hadn’t been able to check the German Wikipedia’s timeline. I doubt if confusion was a planned part of the storyline.
Or in other words: I pretty much agree with Ebert here. The film is technically impressive and Johanna Wokalek was a very scary Gudrun Ensslin (I think Ebert could have mentioned her a bit more but Martina Gedeck is probably better known to an American arthouse audience). The Meinhof-Ensslin interplay is intriguing and should have been developed. Meinhof and Ensslin were perverted heroes (“hero” is the wrong word as I have absolutely no sympathy for their actions, but I hope you get the point) and both could easily have been the subject of a major fiction or documentary film.
Update: Mainhof corrected to Meinhof, except in the permalink.