Crimes and Misdemeanors (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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"Poignant, Penetrating [And] Scathingly Hilarious" (Long Beach Press Telegram), Crimes And Misdemeanors Is A Deftly Rendered Tale About The Complexity Of Human Choices And The Moral Microcosms They Represent. Showcasing Allen'S Brilliant Grasp Of The Link Between The Funny And The Fatal, His 19Th Movie Is "One Of The Watershed Films Of His Career" (Los Angeles Times). Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) Is An Idealistic Filmmaker Until He'S Offered A Lucrative Job Shooting Aflattering Profile Of A Pompous Tv Producer (Alan Alda). Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) Is The Pillar Of His Community Until He Learns That His Ex-Mistress (Anjelica Huston) Plans To Expose His Financial And Extramarital Misdeeds. As Cliff Chooses Between Integrity And Selling Out, And Judah Decides Between The Counsel Of His Rabbi (Sam Waterston) And The Murderous Advice Of His Mobster Brother (Jerry Orbach), Each Man Must Examine His Own Morality, And Make An Irrevocable Decisionthat Willchange Everyone'S Lives Forever.
Some critics and filmgoers have hailed this 1989 comedy-drama as Woody Allen's best film, and while that's certainly open for debate, a good case can be made that it's the most ambitious and morally complex of Allen's films. It's the kind of movie that provokes heated philosophical debate about the role of God in our lives, the nature of guilt, and the circumstances that would allow a seemingly good, law-abiding family man and successful professional (Martin Landau) to commit a murder with no risk of being caught. Could you live with yourself under those conditions? Allen explores this complicated issue in the context of an extramarital affair that Landau's mistress (Anjelica Huston) threatens to expose, while developing a second story about a documentary filmmaker (Allen) who reluctantly makes a film about his brother-in-law (Alan Alda), a TV sitcom producer whose vanity is seemingly unlimited. From serious crimes to misdemeanors of personal behavior, Allen ties these stories together to create a provocative and unsettling study of divergent moralities and the price we're willing to pay to preserve our personal comfort and happiness. It's a sobering film, but a fascinating and funny one as well, unfolding like a thriller in which the question is not whodunit but rather, would you do it if you knew you could get away with it? --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" (an obvious nod to Fyodor Dostoyevsky) is Allen's most engrossing quest for moral order in the universe, which quest leaves him -- and the viewer -- utterly bereft.
However, unlike the bleak "Interiors" or Allen's hilarious send-up on impending death being the impetus for finding God in "Hannah and Her Sisters," Allen's treatment of God, morality and free will is multi-faceted, and doesn't come to any pat answers.
In fact, it is Allen's ambivalent contemplation of religion and ethics that conservative critics find lacking at best, or disingenuous at worst. I see it differently: Agree or disagree with him, Allen is an atheist who is nonetheless tormented by the conclusion he has reached that there is no God. His is no knee-jerk atheism, as he has clearly thought through the philosophical issues involved, wavering between Nietzschean will to power and outright denial, to existentialist reluctance in the face of the ultimate meaningless of life beyond the here-and-now.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is peopled by a sterling cast, whose lives and choices are in direct conflict and contrast with one another; Yet, all speak with one voice, in Allen's exquisitely economical and pointed dialogue.
Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau, in the role of a lifetime, so perfectly is the dialogue tailored to his cadence of voice and gestures), like Job, is a man who has everything he could ever want. Unlike Job, when he sees his wealth and seemingly ideal family life (with wife Claire Bloom) jeopardized, he turns his back on God.
The catalyst for Judah's life crisis is Dolores (Angelica Huston), a lonely airline stewardress with whom he's having more than a fling.Read more ›
Martin Landau (who won an Oscar for Best Actor) plays Judas - a successful optician caught at the receiving end of his mistresses (Angelica Huston) neurotic threats of revealing their two-year love affair to his wife and the world. Judas's dilemma peaks when his mistress, in a last ditch effort to get him back, threatens to reveal some unscrupulous business dealings in his past. Offers of money and pleas for forgiveness work to no avail until Judas is compelled to do something drastic. The man created two lives, and one is about to destroy the other. He decides to contact his long lost unscrupulous brother, and rationalize that the only way to solve the problem is to fix the mistress - permanently. (Crime)
Woody Allen plays an unhappily married, frustrated documentary filmmaker. Pitted against his egotistical and successful filmmaker brother-in-law (Alan Alda) who hires him to make a biographical documentary about his life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I would say this is one of Woody's masterpieces. The casting and the acting is impeccable. Especially Martin Landau - who was nominated, but sadly didn't win for best actor. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Johnny Rocker
Deeply moving, deeply though-provoking, brilliantly acted and occasionally very funny. A disturbing, dark film about human nature that still manages to leave room for a glimmer of... Read morePublished on April 16 2011 by K. Gordon
There's no need to force conclusions from this fantastic movie about either the nature of god or the nature of man - that would be like rejecting the circle that I draw because you... Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2007 by Vote Sizing Steve
I think what Allen meant to call this film was "Felonies and Misdemeanors" since a misdemeanor is a crime and the title a little redundant. Read morePublished on May 15 2004
Examining theodicy, the enigma of reconciling a benevolent God with capricious fate and suffering, Woody Allen fails to get much beyond a dark comic-dramatization of a freshman... Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Edward J. Baker
This is not a typical Woody Allen film in that it has an overall seriously philosophical quality. The performance of Martin Landau as a successful opthamolgist who is morally... Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2004 by R. J. Marsella
This film ranks among Woody's best:
Annie Hall, Manhattan, Deconstructing Harry, Hannah and Her Sisters, Interiors, and Stardust Memories
Amazing performances by the... Read more
I had read only great reviews about this film from all quarters, and then was asked to teach it to high school students. Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2002 by Bill Engel
In Crimes and Misdemeanors, Woody Allen recalls the work of the great European directors (especially Bergman's soul-searching preoccupation with matters of faith). Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2002 by Wing J. Flanagan
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