MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 7 this week

Kafka (1991)

7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 6,835 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 51 user | 30 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Writer Franz Kafka works during the day at an insurance company where events lead him to discover a mysterious underground society with strange suppressive goals.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 23 Jan 2012
 
a list of 41 titles
created 14 Jun 2012
 
a list of 24 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 44 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 1 week ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Kafka" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Kafka (1991)

Kafka (1991) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Kafka.
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A recovering gambling addict attempts to reconcile with his family and friends but finds trouble and temptation when caught between feelings for his ex-wife and her dangerous hoodlum boyfriend.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Peter Gallagher, Elisabeth Shue, Alison Elliott
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Jesse Bradford, Jeroen Krabbé, Lisa Eichhorn
Schizopolis (1996)
Comedy | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Fletcher Munson, the lethargic employee of a pseudo-religious self help company, and his doppelganger, the friendly but dull dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Steven Soderbergh, Scott Allen, Betsy Brantley
Contact (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt
THX 1138 (1971)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.

Director: George Lucas
Stars: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley
Signs (2002)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin
Soylent Green (1973)
Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young
Seconds (1966)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An unhappy middle aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Timecrimes (2007)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A very handsome man finds the love of his life, but he suffers an accident and needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery after it is severely disfigured.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Chete Lera
The Box I (2009)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A small wooden box arrives on the doorstep of a married couple, who know that opening it will grant them a million dollars and kill someone they don't know.

Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Gabriela
...
Burgel
...
Doctor Murnau
...
Bizzlebek
...
Grubach
...
The Chief Clerk
Brian Glover ...
Castle Henchman
...
Assistant Ludwig
...
Assistant Oscar
Robert Flemyng ...
The Keeper of the Files
Matyelok Gibbs ...
Concierge
Ion Caramitru ...
Solemn Anarchist
Hilde Van Mieghem ...
Female Anarchist (as Hilde Van Meighem)
Jan Nemejovský ...
Mustachioed Anarchist
Edit

Storyline

Kafka, an insurance worker gets embroiled in an underground group after a co-worker is murdered. The underground group is responsible for bombings all over town, attempting to thwart a secret organization that controls the major events in society. He eventually penetrates the secret organization and must confront them. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

15 November 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Delitti e segreti  »

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on Franz Kafka's novel, "The Castle". In it a protagonist, known only as K., struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle who govern the village for unknown reasons. Kafka died before finishing the work. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Grubach: Kafka. Kafka, Kafka... Is that your real name?
Franz Kafka: Yes. W-why shouldn't it be?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in And Everything Is Going Fine (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Visually stunning and thematically complex melding of Kafka's life and work
18 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a somewhat curious film, attempting to be old-fashioned - in the sense that we have varying strands from an early-twentieth century writer, as well as setting, production design and various visual iconography - yet at the same time striving for a sense of post-modernist reinvention. So, what we end up with is a stunning, self-referential combination of the 'look' (which mixes elements of Carol Reed's The Third Man and Welles' Citizen Kane), with elements of the steam-punk sub-genre of films like Eraserhead, Brazil, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Barton Fink, etc . The story also concerns itself with the notions of the film-noir, both in terms of characterisation, narrative tension and visual design.

So, with Kafka (1991), we not only have the externally referential - of Kafka writing a story, whilst simultaneously involving himself in a real-life plot that will, in turn, become the story he is writing (The Castle) - but also the internal references to Kafka's own biographical history; from his job at the insurance company, to the difficult relationship with his father, and also his failed love affair etc. In the lead role we have one of Britain's most competent actors, Jeremy Irons, who, although never looking exactly like Kafka, does at least manage to embody the quiet, stubborn, meticulous spirit of the writer (or, at least the image that we have of him). His performance is one of complete restraint, far removed from some of his more caricatured performances of recent years, as he offers up a mirrored perspective for the audience; lingering in the background of the scene and simply reacting to what is going on around him (again, a popular device from Kafka's work).

Director Steven Soderbergh compliments and visualises the screenplay by Lem Dobbs exceptionally well, drawing on the aforementioned influences in a similar, post-modernistic way to their subsequent 1999 collaboration, The Limey. Soderbergh also offers us a depiction of a crumbling Europe thrown into confusion, creating a fully functioning world, much like Ridley Scott did with Blade Runner - offering us an illustration of the past by way of the future - or a depiction of Europe in decline to rival that of Fassbinder's The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), von Trier's Europa (1991) and Soderbergh own subsequent film, The Good German (2006). So, whereas most films are content to create, or in this case recreate, early-twentieth century iconography in which the past is as pristine and shockingly brand-new, as if it were created only a yesterday, here we get a past that is dirty, grimy, filled with smoke, fog and dust; in short... totally believable.

This is a film the people expect too much coherency from; something that Soderbergh's continual mainstream success has only damaged further. As more and more cinema-goers come to adore films like Oceans 11 (2000), Traffic (2001) and Solaris (2002), they come to Kafka expecting a mainstream Hollywood thriller. Kafka couldn't be further from this. Here is an intelligent film that draws on the audience's understanding of European cinema and, to some extent, Kafka's own literary back-catalogue in order to piece together the film's central mystery. The main reference point is Kafka's book The Castle; here featured as an imposing fortress atop a shadowy hill. Inside, Kafka finds Ian Holm's mad scientist and the film switches to glorious Technicolor. There are also allusions made to The Trail, with Armin Mueller-Stahl's detective doggedly questioning Kafka's whereabouts and the integrity of his 'story' (an important factor within the film's internal struggle), as well as a direct reference to The Metamorphosis and some of the writer's more abstract shorter pieces.

Soderbergh and Dobbs aren't concerned with pandering to anyone here; they allow the story to remain, much like Kafka himself, an enigma. The story grips us like film-noir should, and Soderbergh keeps us enthralled with his constantly inventive camera work. This is a perfect film that deals with notions of fact and fiction, dreams and reality. The filmmakers respect our intelligence; they understand that some question can remain unanswered and film can work better as a result of this. Whether or not you believe the story to have taken place entirely in Kafka's head (note how the last shot of the film sees Kafka at his writing desk) or whether you see it as the mirroring of fact and fiction is entirely up to you. With fine support from Theresa Russell, Jeroen Krabbé and Alec Guinness, coupled with an exotic Cliff Martinez score, what we have with Kafka is one of the best and most underrated films of the nineteen nineties. A unique experience.


17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Brazil ereiamtg
Hey! How about a DVD already! dk303808909
For a Kafka fan? taylor-oneill
If you want the DVD, then vote for it! teddles-1
what's the connection? Appearance
Film Score spacehunter81
Discuss Kafka (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?