Sunday 29 March 2015

Crimes and Misdemeanors [1989]

Crimes and Misdemeanors, one of Woody’s most ambitious and haunting works, was a marvelous blend of his life-long penchant for witty and humorous dramedies on urban neurosis, with his growing interest in dark, bleak and chilling examination of morality and existence borne out of his admiration for Bergman. It comprised of two loosely-connected, inter-weaving stories each of which could have been expanded into full-length features – Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a wealthy, ageing family man who’s renowned as an ophthalmologist and a philanthropist, is secretly plagued by his emotionally unstable mistress (Anjelica Huston), thus forcing him to take assistance of his brother (Jerry Orbach), who has contacts with the underworld, in order to be released of the quagmire, only to be left deeply troubled by the moral consequences of what follows; Cliff Stern (Allen), a documentary filmmaker struggling to complete his pet project on a little-known philosopher (Martin S. Bergmann), reluctantly agrees to direct a profile on the successful but incorrigibly smug and pompous brother (Alan Ada) of his wife (Joanna Gleason), with whom his marriage has hit rock bottom, whereupon he meets and starts falling for a lovely and intelligent TV producer (Mia Farrow) on account of their shared interests and tastes. The rich tapestries and emotional profundity of the two contrasting and yet mutually reinforcing storylines – brilliantly photographed and incredibly enacted by the ensemble cast – powerfully touched upon such themes as crime and punishment, guilt, redemption, personal reconciliation, disillusion, marital breakdown, unrequited love, existential dilemma, and crisis of faith.

Note: My earlier review of the film can be found here

Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Drama/Comedy/Crime Drama/Psychological Drama/Existential Drama/Social Satire/Romantic Comedy/Ensemble Film
Language: English
Country: US

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