Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Runtime: 1 hr 58 min
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Jeanne Moreau
One of Orson Welles' best films.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 8 years ago
Adapted from Franz Kafka's dystopian novel, The Trial is one of Orson Welles' best films – not as entertaining as Touch of Evil, but as rich with thematic and cinematic possibilities as Citizen Kane. In his first major film role after Psycho, Anthony Perkins plays Joseph K, an Everyman accused of a crime that's never specified by men who refuse to identify themselves. K was something of a cold fish in the novel, but Perkins – with his graceful, somewhat effeminate movements and increasingly hysterical delivery – humanizes him deeply. The film around him is one of the most expansive and frightening nightmares in movie history. Welles' highly stylized depiction of K's office and later his trial would influence such films as Martin Scorsese's After Hours and Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Images from the film, such as two men being flogged in a closet and a gaggle of giggling schoolgirls chasing K up a staircase, will haunt the viewer long after the despairing final fade. K believes that the truth will set him free, and Welles shows just how horribly wrong he is. This is an audacious, uncompromised work that, save for a strenuous 20 minute stretch about halfway through the film, should play quite well to modern audiences.