Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allen's greatest triumph... a masterwork on all levels.
Despite what other critics have said, it remains untrue that Allen only discovered Bergman after the "early funny ones" and thus, flippantly decided to be profound. Long-term aficionados of the director will know that he was indulging in homage to the likes of Bergman, Godard and Fellini as far back as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, Sleeper, and Love &...
Published on 21 Aug 2006 by Jonathan James Romley

versus
6 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
Even if there are some funny scenes, it remains quite boring. I enjoyed Manhattan Murder Mystery more, maybe because I have seen it first and these two movies look very similar in their scenario/atmosphere/acting (maybe because that the same actors ?).
Published on 30 Mar 2006 by Client d'Amazon


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allen's greatest triumph... a masterwork on all levels., 21 Aug 2006
Despite what other critics have said, it remains untrue that Allen only discovered Bergman after the "early funny ones" and thus, flippantly decided to be profound. Long-term aficionados of the director will know that he was indulging in homage to the likes of Bergman, Godard and Fellini as far back as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, Sleeper, and Love & Death. However, whereas those films took certain elements from European cinema and turned them into satire, Allen would eventually begin to explore his own serious side with films like Interiors, Stardust Memories, Another Woman and September, before finally perfected his new found style with this glorious and morally oblique modern-masterpiece.

Crimes and Misdemeanours is a film that manages to move gracefully between two very different (though ultimately, very serious) stories, whilst simultaneously juggling a tone that is both light and humours, but also bleak and profound. By focusing on two different characters, Allen is able to bring us into the film slowly... it is to his credit as a filmmaker that he is able to pull off the subtle shifts in style, creating a mood in one scene that is vague and philosophical, before cutting to something that seems much more frivolous. The serious moments never seem pretentious and the lighter moments are never forced, with Allen making great use of his persona as the slightly neurotic loveable loser at odds with the world around him, as he's hired by his brother-in-law (a pompous TV producer) to direct a flattering documentary portrait of the man and his work. The second arc of the story, the one that really presents the moral centre of the film, focuses on a wealthy ophthalmologist (brilliantly played by Martin Landau), faced with some serious questions of faith, as well as various ethical decisions, when a spurned lover begins to make his life very complicated.

Allen juggles between the stories perfectly, having each disparate tale somehow reflect subtly on the other one, creating in the process, an effortless back and forth. As well as the subtle foreshadowing's there are also more intelligent cinematic devices being used, as Allen creates a subplot in which his character Cliff is also working on a documentary about an ailing professor who, on occasion, can be glimpsed in the background on Cliff's editing monitor discussing the broader philosophical aspects of life, love and death. These snippets of philosophical discourse also, subtly, pass comment on the actions depicted in the film, creating a further layer of self-reference that can also be seen in the films that Allen's character watches during his down-time. Once again, Allen doesn't allow these devices to overwhelm the story or push things into the realms of overt-intellectual masturbation, but instead, merely compliments the two stories, adding further layers for the audience to pick through and also giving further emotional and psychological weight to that fantastically low-key ending.

As great as the writing and the performances are, it is in his role as filmmaker in which Allen truly impresses with this film... managing to take his fondness for Bergman and, for once, develop it into his own personal style of filmmaking. Therefore, it's less self-conscious than Another Woman, and even with the influence of Bergman evident in his use of legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist, this still feels like a Woody Allen film, even managing to prefigure the style of Husbands and Wives and Bullets Over Broadway. Every nuance of the film, from the casting, to the lighting and composition, the editing and the choice of music is perfect, with Allen managing to create a great atmosphere of loss and isolation for his characters to fall into.

Though it is Allen and Landau that represent the moral centre of the film, there are also some impeccably nuanced performances from supporting players. Alan Alda, as Cliff's self-important brother-in-law Lester offers great comic-support, whilst Mia Farrow gives her second best performance in a Woody Allen film, following her great turn in the similarly brilliant Purple Rose of Cairo. There's also further support offered by Sam Waterston as the man of faith slowly loosing his sight, Jerry Orbach as Landau's mobster brother, Joanna Gleason as Cliff's long-suffering wife (and Lester's favourite sister) Wendy, and Angelica Huston as the woman scorned. If I had to pick out one flaw with this film, I'd say that Huston's character is a little annoying, falling into the occasional Allen trap of being far too needy and obnoxious (the same can be said about Farrow's character in the later Husbands and Wives, or Dianne Keaton's role in Manhattan). This really is a mild criticism, though, with Huston trying her best to overcome her character's (admittedly quite necessary) shortcomings to give a strong and affecting performance.

However, the film belongs to Landau and Allen, with the former giving perhaps the best performance of his career and the latter proving himself to be (once and for all) the greatest American filmmaker of his generation. Crimes and Misdemeanours is really a perfect film (for me), and along with Love and Death, Annie Hall, Purple Rose of Cairo and Bullets Over Broadway, gives further proof of Allen's cinematic genius.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could this be Allen's ultimate masterpiece?, 31 Jan 2006
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Despite what another commentator has said, it remains untrue that Allen only discovered Bergman after the "early funny ones" and thus, flippantly decided to be profound. Long-term aficionados of the director will know that he was indulging in homage to the likes of Bergman, Godard and Fellini as far back as Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, Sleeper, and Love & Death. However, whereas those films took certain elements from European cinema and turned them into satire, Allen would eventually begin to explore his own serious side with films like Interiors, Stardust Memories, Another Woman and September, before finally perfected his new found style with this glorious and morally oblique modern-masterpiece.
Crimes and Misdemeanours is a film that manages to move gracefully between two very different (though ultimately, very serious) stories, whilst simultaneously juggling a tone that is both light and humours, but also bleak and profound. By focusing on two different characters, Allen is able to bring us into the film slowly... it is to his credit as a filmmaker that he is able to pull off the subtle shifts in style, creating a mood in one scene that is vague and philosophical, before cutting to something that seems much more frivolous. The serious moments never seem pretentious and the lighter moments are never forced, with Allen making great use of his persona as the slightly neurotic loveable loser at odds with the world around him, as he's hired by his brother-in-law (a pompous TV producer) to direct a flattering documentary portrait of the man and his work. The second arc of the story, the one that really presents the moral centre of the film, focuses on a wealthy ophthalmologist (brilliantly played by Martin Landau), faced with some serious questions of faith, as well as various ethical decisions, when a spurned lover begins to make his life very complicated.
Allen juggles between the stories perfectly, having each disparate tale somehow reflect subtly on the other one, creating in the process, an effortless back and forth. As well as the subtle foreshadowing's there are also more intelligent cinematic devices being used, as Allen creates a subplot in which his character Cliff is also working on a documentary about an ailing professor who, on occasion, can be glimpsed in the background on Cliff's editing monitor discussing the broader philosophical aspects of life, love and death. These snippets of philosophical discourse also, subtly, pass comment on the actions depicted in the film, creating a further layer of self-reference that can also be seen in the films that Allen's character watches during his down-time. Once again, Allen doesn't allow these devices to overwhelm the story or push things into the realms of overt-intellectual masturbation, but instead, merely compliments the two stories, adding further layers for the audience to pick through and also giving further emotional and psychological weight to that fantastically low-key ending.
As great as the writing and the performances are, it is in his role as filmmaker in which Allen truly impresses with this film... managing to take his fondness for Bergman and, for once, develop it into his own personal style of filmmaking. Therefore, it's less self-conscious than Another Woman, and even with the influence of Bergman evident in his use of legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nyvist, this still feels like a Woody Allen film, even managing to prefigure the style of Husbands and Wives and Bullets Over Broadway. Every nuance of the film, from the casting, to the lighting and composition, the editing and the choice of music is perfect, with Allen managing to create a great atmosphere of loss and isolation for his characters to fall into.
Though it is Allen and Landau that represent the moral centre of the film, there are also some impeccably nuanced performances from supporting players. Alan Alda, as Cliff's self-important brother-in-law Lester offers great comic-support, whilst Mia Farrow gives her second best performance in a Woody Allen film, following her great turn in the similarly brilliant Purple Rose of Cairo. There's also further support offered by Sam Waterston as the man of faith slowly loosing his sight, Jerry Orbach as Landau's mobster brother, Joanna Gleason as Cliff's long-suffering wife (and Lester's favourite sister) Wendy, and Angelica Huston as the woman scorned. If I had to pick out one flaw with this film, I'd say that Huston's character is a little annoying, falling into the occasional Allen trap of being far too needy and obnoxious (the same can be said about Farrow's character in the later Husbands and Wives, or Dianne Keaton's role in Manhattan). This really is a mild criticism, though, with Huston trying her best to overcome her character's (admittedly quite necessary) shortcomings to give a strong and affecting performance.
However, the film belongs to Landau and Allen, with the former giving perhaps the best performance of his career and the latter proving himself to be (once and for all) the greatest American filmmaker of his generation. Crimes and Misdemeanours is really a perfect film (for me), and along with Love and Death, Annie Hall, Purple Rose of Cairo and Bullets Over Broadway, gives further proof of Allen's cinematic genius.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, great movie., 1 Dec 2003
By 
John (Manchester) - See all my reviews
This is a brilliant film. Allen merges his comic interests with his serious Bergman ambitions perfectly. It is a bitter-sweet experience, and more successful than something like, say Interiors (1978), as the comedy here serves to highlight the ultimate tragedy of the narrative.
I defy anyone not to be moved by the film's quietly devastating conclusion, a conversation between Allen and Martin Landau's characters at an upscale Manhattan function. Love is not always returned, good intentions in life are not enough, and ultimately, there is no right or wrong. You can get away with anything if you choose to forgive yourself. There is no higher power to arbitrate between us - we are on our own in the universe.
That Allen successfully explores these fundamental existential matters in an entertaining way is a massive achievement. I'd urge anyone to see this film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only Crime was it took this long!, 19 Jun 2001
By 
mike@aba.co.uk (Stockport, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Crimes & Misdemeanours is an examination into the dark soul of Everyman. By setting Man's intentions against Man's actions, Allen masterfully illuminates the dark space that lies between the two, and the monsters that lie in wait there. It's never an easy journey when a Director holds a mirror up to us in this way, and this film is no exception. By clever use of the story of two decent ordinary guys lives, Allen opens out nice & easy, lulling the viewer into a false sense of 'Allen' insecurity. But as the story progresses, these simple men become victims of their own desires, and, consequently, others become victims of these simple men. We see here an older, more sullen Allen, miserly with his feelgood moments in the film, dragging us unwillingly down into the place he's intent on showing us, our own dark ambition. Comedy would not be my first choice of words to describe this film, but unmissable would definately feature. Watch this film!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without doubt, his greatest movie., 29 Sep 2010
By 
km.ord (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
In my opinion, this is Allen's greatest testament as both writer and director. This is a multi complex movie which covers so many aspects of life. Its major themes include guilt, obsession, betrayal, religion, sexuality and murder. Martin Landau is absolutely stunning in his role as an ophthalmologist who is the pillar of the community, and whom is blackmailed by a neurotic lover - which ultimately leads to moral and tragic consequences. Allen struggles to be his usual humorous self in the midst of his own crumbling marriage; he also suffers as a victim of unrequited love (with Mia Farrow), as he tries to rebuild his own life.

There are three main stories which make up the overall plot, although the Landau storyline is the most dominant. It has to take centre stage because the themes within this particular plot are the nucleus which holds everything together. All of the stories are indirectly interlinked, as are the characters, which leads to a strange, yet fascinating conversation between Allen and Landau at the end of the movie, when they eventually meet by accident at a relatives wedding. Humour is present within this story; however, the themes are based on mental suffering, which makes it difficult for the lighter side of the movie to dominate in any way.

It's a movie which I've watched on many an occassion. Each viewing has revealed something new - which is the blueprint for any great story. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. The script is so cleverly written, it makes you realise perhaps, how enormously difficult it would be to write something yourself, based around human complexity. The story really does reveal Allen as a master scriptwriter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best!, 20 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Allen's initial run of comedies came to a halt when he (apparently) discovered Ingmar Bergman, and became overwhelmed by the urge to be profound. Some pretty introspective, turgid , laugh-free films followed, before he learned to integrate comedy back into his films without dispatching profundity altogether. This is the film where he pulls off that see-saw trick most immaculately, cramming a deeply philosophical film with hilarious lines and situations. The result is arguably the greatest film he ever made, definitely one of the top half dozen, a film that makes you laugh out loud and sends you out into the night really thinking about life and the nature of man.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allen's best film?, 15 Feb 2012
By 
C A Lane "HeavenSent" (Everywhere and Nowhere) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Forget that awful crowd-pleasing schlock Midnight in Paris, THIS is probably the most masterful of Allen's films which takes its characters and us on a voyage through the heart of darkness, whilst making us laugh out loud and reel back with horror at the same time. A sublime movie, but it ain't all laughs -- and is all the better for it. Woody Allen you are a genius!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant film about the nature of guilt and responsibility, 1 July 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
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 hope within it's chilling bleakness.

Martin Landau is amazing, but all of the cast make significant contributions.

One of the few films I can watch over and over, with no loss of its power. Every time I watch it I end up pondering my own sense of morality, my questions about whether there is truly justice in the world, and the extent to which good people do bad things. And yet, along with all those heavy ideas, this is also entertaining, witty, and occasionally very tense story-telling of the first order.

For me it's second only to 'Annie Hall' amongst Allen's huge body of work, and stands as one of the few truly great films of the 1980s.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of contemporary genius, 28 Feb 2001
By 
Mr. D. Woods "dwoods92" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
One of my personal favourites of Woody Allen's works, 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' is witty, poignant and emotional. Allen's ability to create a sympathetic character in Martin Landau's Judah Rosenthal, who agrees to the planned murder of his former mistress, shows his wonderful eye for character. The dialogue, as always, is sharp and witheringly dry but without pretension and the echoes of a great Allen influence, Ingmar Bergman, can be detected within the narrative. An often dark yet thoroughly rewarding cinematic experience, this is Woody Allen at his very best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, 12 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] (DVD)
Another of Woody Allen's films that is clever, witty and very entertaining especially when you are looking
for a more wordy film..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990]
Crimes And Misdemeanours [DVD] [1990] by Woody Allen (DVD - 2002)
5.47
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews