Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
With the help of an impeccable cast and with a style steeped in the past, Soderbergh has placed the persona of Kafka under a lens, and the soul he discovers is his own. [31 Jan. 1992]
Miami Herald
The design of the film is breathtaking at times, veering from the jagged hyperbole of German expressionism to the drolleries of English comedy at its most daft, if not most broad. [7 Feb. 1992, p.G5]
Humor is a key ingredient in Kafka, though it definitely leans toward the wry and quirky. The movie loses some of its clarity and narrative force in mid-story however, though it never abandons its original visual style and focus.
USA Today
Kafka is in glorious black and white, except for an extended color sequence near the end that recalls the visual transition in "The Wizard of Oz." The comparison is even more apropos: This middling pigmentary stunt has a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of mood, and too much put-on wizardry at its center. [4 Dec. 1991, p.5D]
Kafka, as subject or character, simply doesn't fit into the world of this film. Soderbergh does demonstrate again here that he's a gifted director, however unwise in his choice of project.
San Francisco Chronicle
It sounds promising, but it doesn't work. You get the feeling that Soderbergh, so early in his directing career, has exceeded his reach -- that the com- plicated logistics of making a film on location in eastern Europe, compounded with the challenge of bringing to life such a fundamentally lonely and passive figure, had stymied him. [17 Jan. 1992, p.D1]
The Hollywood Reporter
A distinguished and able cast headed by Jeremy Irons; beautiful, mostly black-and-white cinematography; and the enchanting Prague backgrounds make for a diverting feature-length eyeful and earful, but the reconstruction of the Kafkaesque worldview never quite takes. [3 Dec. 1991]
Chicago Tribune
Steven Soderbergh's Kafka is a surprisingly cold, gray and flavorless follow-up to "sex, lies and videotape." [7 Feb. 1992]
Boston Globe
Despite its good looks and expertly turned performances, it trivializes Kafka and his work. The simplistic optimism behind it is more terrifying than anything we actually see on screen. Sitting through Kafka is like watching somebody staff a suicide hotline by telling callers to just lighten up. [21 Feb. 1992, p.28]
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The film makes a few starts in many directions but doesn't go very far in any, and that's disappointing to those of us who thought so much of Soderbergh's previous effort. Oh, well, everyone's entitled to a clunker now and then. [7 Feb. 1992, p.3F]
The movie is MTV Kafka: Instead of dialogue, character, behavior, it has a look and a mood. And that's all it has.

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