Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.
I'm crazy about Kafka. THE TRIAL is my favorite by Welles, and Juracek's homage Joseph KILLIAN is brilliant as well. So the thought of Haneke directing The Castle seemed like a promising idea. And he gets some of it right. The story is very faithful... obviously certain omissions are necessary, but the gist of it is there, and the scenes generally play out as they do in the novel. The long scenes juxtaposed with abrupt time cuts do a good job of evoking the unusual rhythms of Kafka. And Haneke knows better than to try to make K. an entirely sympathetic character. But it doesn't feel quite right. I have mixed feelings about the aesthetic. The drab palette is appropriate, but I couldn't help thinking that black and white would have suited the material better. And the voice-over felt entirely unnecessary to me. The novel is told in the third person voice, but it feels first person. Having some narrator chime in every few minutes didn't add anything. And it just didn't seem absurd enough. Perhaps it's a book that doesn't condense well, because you don't get the sense of K.'s epic, labyrinthine struggle. But it's a good effort.
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