An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated with another woman.
In "Crimes and Misdemeanors" Allen revisits a recurring theme in many of his films, adultery. It would be a simplistic and narrow-minded view of this film to say that it was simply about adultery because it is really far more complex than that, and essentially a film about all varieties of human nature and relationships, and one could even argue- the relationship between reality and film as explored through the lens of genre- romantic comedy, Film-Noir, and documentary, and what parts of this film are- satire.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is one of Allen's best scripts. Any screenplay attempting to accomplish as much as this one does could easily fall apart, and Allen has had less convincing attempts than this one with similar ambitions, but everything works beautifully here. This film practically defines the 'tragicomedy' sub-genre, with neither overpowering the other and much of the humor is dark humor originating in tragedy, something that is acknowledged by Allen through the character of Lester (played to perfection by Alan Alda), who comments that comedy is nothing more than "tragedy plus time". He also mentions that comedy has to have an ending, and that's one of the best things about this movie- Allen allows dramatic scenes to succeed at being dramatic and emotional, then throws a hilarious punchline at you, which has an effect that is both entertaining and somewhat unsettling. This is an expertly-written movie.
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is the culmination of a decade of consistently brilliant, evocative, original, and fascinating films from Woody Allen, whose 80's output I would personally consider to be his best. His 70's work is far more popular, but his 80's work contains some of the most unique and memorable films ever made: "Stardust Memories", "Zelig", "The Purple Rose of Cairo", and "Hannah and Her Sisters", as well as numerous overlooked and generally forgotten films that can only be called excellent, such as: "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy", "Broadway Danny Rose", "Radio Days", "September", and "Another Woman". On top of all these memorable films is "Crimes and Misdemeanors", which is simply my favorite Woody Allen film and almost certainly his best and most focused effort.
- Apr 29, 2008