Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Jeremy Irons
Theresa Russell
Joel Grey
Alec Guinness.
Directors
Steven Soderbergh.
Screenwriters
Lem Dobbs.
Running Time
98 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Kafka
Conspiracy theories abound in Soderbergh's second film


submit to reddit


Plot
Kafka is an insurance clerk in Prague who becomes imbroiled in a secret organisation after his best-friend and co-worker is murdered. As he gets closer to the group he realises that the conspiracies he has been writing about at night are worryingly close to the truth.


Review
Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka is the most famous modern example of the dreaded Second Film Syndrome. The follow-up to the director's internationally acclaimed Sex, Lies and Videotape, it was judged a pretentious failure and only received a UK release three years after production.

Actually, the film's terrible reputation is almost an advantage: while Soderbergh's debut was impossibly over-hyped, and, inevitably, disappointing, this comes on surprisingly strong and will, for many, be more satisfying. By day, a character called Kafka (Irons) toils in a Prague insurance office, saving his mind for the nights when he struggles to be a writer. When his only friend at the office is mysteriously murdered by a lobotomised zombie, Kafka is drawn into a conspiracy world alarmingly like the one he imagines. There is something suspect in films about authors which suggest they didn't have to go to the trouble of exerting creative talent since their lives provided them with all their material.

Here, however, the game is played in such exaggerated terms that it's forgivable: this in no way tries to be a biographical drama of an adaptation of a specific Kafka work, and, while it has comically horrid officials and such "Kafkaesque" concepts as the trial and the castle, is more a straightforward horror movie than a literary conceit. Irons wanders bemusingly through bodysnatching, as the script drops names like Murnau and Orlac to evoke German Expressionist cinema of the 20s, but the on-location black-and-white gothic of Prague and studied period details are more reminiscent of the Hammer Horrors of the late 50s. It even has a sequence shot in odd-looking colour and a parade of distinguished actors as jovially sinister suspects


Verdict
One of Soderbergh's most entertaining films to date, this is weirdly recommended.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)