Kafka [1991]

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Theresa Russell, Joel Grey
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 94 minutes

The sophomore effort by Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies, and videotape) is an audacious and stylistically impressive experiment in a completely different direction from his debut. Working from a script by Lem Dobbs, Soderbergh follows the miserable day-to-day existence of Franz Kafka (Jeremy Irons), an insurance clerk in a large, impersonal company. Hiding out in his garret at night, he writes material he assumes no one will ever read. But then he happens upon clues that make him believe there is some plot afoot to suppress thought and he follows the trail into a hidden sanctuary, at which point the film abruptly shifts from shadowy black and white to jarring color. It doesn't all work, but it is never less than intriguing, with a cast that includes Alec Guinness, Ian Holm, and Joel Grey. --Marshall Fine

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