19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Crimes and Misdemeanors (DVD)
This is my favorite fil of all time!
Two elements combine magnificently to create this masterpiece: the script and the actors.
The director does a fine job, but mostly by restraining himself so as not to distract from the story, the dialogue, and the characters. I know some people see this as an argument against God's existance and therefore feel a pious need to trash it. I would argue, however, that it is no such thing. There have been enough movies about how the universe tends to right the wrongs of human design, the fact is that doesn't always happen, ON THIS EARTH. To say that there is no divine hand guiding the lives of people who sail through this mortal existance is not necasserily an argument that there is no divine hand at all. This and films like it (the Seventh Seal comes to mind) are more about the truth of the human condition than the truth of the divine condition. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, many times good things happen to you BECAUSE you're bad, and vice-verse. Ideally, the righteous are rewarded and the evil punished, but we do not live in an ideal world. Unfortunatley, film and literature are not resplendent with the truth of this reality. The meek have yet to inherit the earth, and that's exactly what this movie is about. It does not argue atheism, it represents human experience and presents to us the very real temptation to lose hope, but it ends with a plea from beyond the grave (the grave of someone who did lose hope) that we have faith in the small joys of life and look forward with optimism. Why should we retain hope? Because the triumph of the human spirit is that we continue to move forward, and hopefully we learn from past mistakes and our posterity may yet find that extra happiness which eluded us.
Enough postulation about God and Atheism, this is a fantastic movie. Martin Landau's performance is the greatest ever preserved on celluloid, coupled with his performance on "Ed Wood", I would argue that he is the greatest actor of the twentieth century!
Do your self a favor and watch this film, examine life and ask yourself what it means.
Thank you, Woody.