Crimes and Misdemeanors
- Woody Allen
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Thursday, December 21, 2000
The movie consists of two disturbing and very profound storylines. One involves Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a doctor who has it all, a successful career and an established family. Suddenly, all of his life is put in danger when his former mistress (Angelica Huston) threatens to come out and tell his wife about their two-year relationship. On the other hand, Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is a documentary filmmaker who gets to fight for the love of Halley Reed (Mia Farrow) with his own brother-in-law (Alan Alda), a successful producer.
The main achievement here is that Allen masterfully succeeds in telling this two parallel stories which have nothing in common (one is a tragedy, the other kind of a comedy) while neatly tying them together at the end. Both stories are about human relationships, a common theme in Allen’s films. But this time we are transported into more deep territory. It’s the true honesty of the script and the dialogue which make this characters come to life. The film questions such subject matters as murder, religion, guilt, jealousy, without even trying to judge them, but to present them as true feelings that affect a human being.
By doing so, Allen once again assembles a marvelous cast and makes it work. Martin Landau, specially, is heartbreakingly good in a very difficult role. He is terrific and you always sense and understand everything that he is going through. Alda, Huston, Farrow and Allen himself all give top-notch performances.
This is a thoughtful movie that you won’t easily forget. I really liked the way the movie ended. And even thou there’s a spoiler coming ahead, I must point out how interesting it is that the tragic storyline ends up happily, while the comedic one ends up in a bittersweet note. This just comes to show how unpredictable life is, and that we never know, anything could happen. A big applause to Allen and everyone involved!
“Last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty”
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Other reviews of Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989): Groucho