Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
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
Lilting
4 Star Empire Rating
Wakolda
3 Star Empire Rating
Moebius
4 Star Empire Rating
All This Mayhem
3 Star Empire Rating
Guardians Of The Galaxy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
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
Rebel Without A Cause
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
Michel Gondry Talks Mood Indigo
Gondry on Bjork, erections and Mark Ruffalo in his pants

Everything You Need To Know About The Dragonriders Of Pern
The lowdown on Warner Bros. new fantasy sci-fi

A Pocket Guide To Game Of Thrones’ New Cast Members
Know your Doran Martell from your Nym Sand

Empire's The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Covers Are Here
Bard The Bowman or Smaug The Magnificent?

Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film
The veteran director on Timecop, Outland, 2010, Enemies Closer and more

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)