Rent Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

3.8 of 5 from 153 ratings
1h 40min
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Synopsis:
Cliff Stern (Woody Allen) is an idealistic filmmaker…until he is offered a lucrative job shooting a flattering profile of a pompous TV producer (Alan Alda). Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) is the pillar of his community…until he learns that his ex-mistress (Anjelica Huston) plans to expose his financial and extramarital misdeeds. As Cliff chooses between integrity and selling out, and Judah decides between the counsel of his Rabbi (Sam Waterson) and the murderous advice of his mobster brother (Jerry Orbach), each man must examine his own morality, and make an irrevocable decision - that will change everyone's lives forever.
Actors:
, , Bill Bernstein, , , , , , , , , , Zina Jasper, , , , , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Robert Greenhut
Writers:
Woody Allen
Others:
Robert Greenhut, Susan Morse
Studio:
MGM
Genres:
Classics, Comedy, Drama
BBFC:
Release Date:
11/02/2002
Run Time:
100 minutes
Languages:
English, French, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles:
Danish, English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Interactive Menu Screens
  • Chapter Selections
BBFC:
Release Date:
03/04/2017
Run Time:
104 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 1.0
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour and B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B

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Reviews (2) of Crimes and Misdemeanors

Tragicomedy. - Crimes and Misdemeanors review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert
Updated 06/03/2021

Woody closed out the eighties with a well constructed narrative which combines a comic story about a documentary film maker (Allen) continually eclipsed by his more successful brother in law (Alan Alda) both in competition for the affections of Mia Farrow; with a very dark drama about an ophthalmologist (Martin Landau) who has his lover (Angelica Huston) killed in order that he might preserve his marriage and family.

Allen was always a very smooth plotter, and never better than here, as he brings the two stories together with a satisfying serendipity at the end. The film observes how some people can be destroyed by guilt for even the smallest transgression while others can do terrible things and, providing they are not caught, choose to be unaffected by its consequences. It reflects on how we manage to go on living in a world without any natural moral law.

There is a wonderful script with some unexpected twists and astute observations. As ever, the cast is well chosen with Angelica Huston touching as an emotionally unbalanced woman chronically starved of love. Landau is chilling in a demanding role as a rich man without conscience or moral compass. His profession is apt because the film suggests most of us are cursed to navigate our lives unable to clearly see our own nature and that of even our closest companions.

Perhaps the most interesting strand of the film is a series of philosophical diversions voiced on tape by an actual professor of psychology at NYU, Martin Bergmann the subject of a documentary by Woody's character. In parts this film is quite a bleak experience, but thankfully moderated by intelligence and humour and Bergmann (as Professor Levy) shines a flicker of light into the darkness. 

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Deep and shallow - Crimes and Misdemeanors review by HM

Spoiler Alert
28/02/2018

Clever analysis of life's unfairness and selfish perspectives on moral issues (deep). As usual Allen's one-liners fit perfectly, although they ought to be out of place (shallow). The story is gripping as a thriller and an emotional ringer. What would you do? Does the nice guy get the girl? Is it all life's rich tapestry or a kick in the groin?

We all have to swallow the effects of other people's actions and plot to perpetrate harm to others interests to further our desires. So we can commit crimes and especially misdemeanors. The scripting is tight with no flab whatsoever. I found it to be gripping and an education. Much recommended for those that like intelligent cinema; one of Allen's best.

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