Crimes & Misdemeanors ( 1989) Movie  » Movies  »
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  • Whether you are a Woody Allen fan or not, Crimes & Misdemeanors is an excellent movie and I think it is one of his best, but I think you have to have a tendency to be philosophical about the deeper issues in life if you are to enjoy it

    • by jeanne71
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      Whether you are a Woody Allen fan or not, Crimes & Misdemeanors is an excellent movie and I think it is one of his best, but I think you have to have a tendency to be philosophical about the deeper issues in life if you are to enjoy it. If you want a Hollywood ending then this is not for you as Woody typically favours a more realistic view of life and he appears to enjoy observing this and dissecting it and trying to make meaning out of it - and they are sometimes pretty depressing conclusions. This does of course have quite a few laughs in it too, which is great for me as I personally love the way that Woody will contrast humour and frivolity with deeper observations on life. This is a very well made movie that moves at the correct

      pace, has some excellent acting in it from some great actors and it is a movie that should make you think.

      We have Martin Landau (whom I remember from Space 1999) playing Judah; a respected opthamologist held in high esteem by his loving family and his business associates, but who also has a couple of dark secrets that do not fit in with his image as a man of high moral fibre; a bit of embezzling in the past and a two year affair with another woman. When the woman - wonderfully played by Angelica Houston who is great in Woody Allen movies (see also Manhattan Murder Mystery) - starts to demand that he lives up to the promises he made her that they would one day have a life together, or else she will spill the beans about everything, he takes some rather evil action - ...


      • after a lot of soul-searching - to put an end to this threat to his wonderful life. Judah has been brought up by his parents to believe that God sees everything and the wicked get punished, whether or not society sees the sin and so initially he struggles with his conscience, but as time goes on he realises that the teachings of his parents conflict with the reality of the world around him. For example, the Nazis did not really get punished for what they did to the Jews, except a few possibly. He starts to realize that as long as he can cope with what he has done, then there will be no such punishment from God. This story with Judah is contrasted with the story we are following with the Woody Allen character, Clifford, who believes in personal integrity and cannot
        stand his wife’s brother, Lester, who is fawned over and praised rather like Judah and who Cliff believes does not have such personal integrity. Lester is played also wonderfully by Alan Alda (also in Manhattan Murder Mystery). I just love Alan Alda and Angelica Houston in Woody Allen movies.

        I personally do not think that Woody Allen is condoning immoral behaviour based on the idea that there is no God - to me that is a rather insensitive interpretation of the message of this movie. I think he believes firmly in personal values and integrity, but yet his character is somewhat tragic as he cannot make those values work for him in life. This movie will get you thinking. Great acting, great plot and plenty of enjoyable inserts from other films that Woody uses to narrate what is going on. This is a very enjoyable film.




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