Thursday, 6 January 2011
Crimes and Misdemeanors 
Some Woody Allen aficionados consider Crimes and Misdemeanors as his best film. Though I disagree with that – in my humble opinion, Annie Hall and Manhattan still rank, perhaps along with Hannah and Her Sisters, as his best of what I’ve seen so far – that in no way means I don’t think highly of this film. In fact, this is an extremely competent, well-rounded and mature work of Allen, and has combined an ultra-serious sub-plot with an Allenesque tragi-comedic counterpart in a single film with utmost ease. The former is about an ageing, wealthy and well-respected doctor (Martin Landau), whose seemingly perfect life is at the brink of collapsing courtesy his volatile mistress (Angelica Huston) who is impossible to reason with, and that forces the man to consider alternate routes out of desperation. The latter sub-plot is about a documentary filmmaker (Woody Allen) who is given a chance to make some money by filming the life of one person he detests with all his heart – his successful and pompous brother-in-law, and this gets him introduced to a TV producer (Mia Farrow) who he finds himself falling for, but with tragic consequences. As has been mentioned by another reviewer, despite the differing tones of the two parallel strands, both seem to end in notes of sadness and regret. The film has addressed a number of complex themes, including morality, infidelity and self-destructive (and unrequited) love, and Landau and Allen have represented the two sides of a coin with simplicity and brilliance.
Note: My recent review of the film can be found here
Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama/Comedy/Psychological Drama/Social Satire/Ensemble Film