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USA 1989
Directed by
Woody Allen
104 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Crimes And Misdemeanours

Crimes And Misdemeanours which was photographed by Sven Nykvist who shot Allen's previous film Another Woman (1988) offers a well-crafted interweaving of characters and the points of views they represent focussing on the central question of the value of a moral life with Allen thoughtfully combining his dual proclivities for comedy and tragedy in a winning narrative form that draws on his own upbringing in the Jewish faith. .

Martin Landau plays Dr. Judah Rosenthal, a prominent ophthalmologist with a successful practice, a loving family, and a reputation for generous charity work. But Rosenthal also has a mistress, Dolores (Anjelica Huston) who is becoming increasingly demanding and threatens to derail his comfortable upper middle class life.  Judah confides in his black sheep brother Jack (Jerry Orbach), who offers to make the problem “go away".  Meanwhile, Cliff Stern (Allen) is a principled filmmaker who can barely make a living out of documentaries no one ever sees and who out of desperation takes the job of directing a documentary about his wife’s brother (Alan Alda) a hugely successful but vapid television producer. Cliff, not a little jealously, despises him but falls for his serious-minded assistant (Mia Farrow).

As with the best of Allen’s work Crimes And Misdemeanours ponders the big questions but also takes droll pot shots at his pet gripes, principally pop culture, and personal neuroses, relieving a sense of his character's existential despair with mordant wisecracks.




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