Shadows and Fog (1991)







Woody Allen, Kathy Bates, Philip Bosco, Charles Cragin, John Cusack, Mia Farrow, Jodie Foster, Fred Gwynne, Robert Joy, Julie Kavner, William H. Macy, MAdonna, John Malkovich, Kenneth Mars, Kate Nelligan, Donald Pleasence, James Rebhorn, John C. Reilly, Wallace Shawn, Kurtwood Smith, Josef Sommer, David Ogden Stiers, Lily Tomlin, Daniel von Bargen


With a serial strangler (Michael Kirby) on the loose, an insignificant bookkeeper (Woody Allen) wanders around town searching for the vigilante group intent on catching the killer.


Woody Allen goes rogue from the serious-serious stuff with "Shadows and Fog", a very interesting, often funny, and at times strange mild satire of Kafka.

Once again Allen shows us his dark, pessimistic vision of the world, where the man is alone, and abandoned in the indifference of the universe and is unable to find any kind of consolation. Refuge can only be found in illusion, just like the magician of the film says - "Loves them. They need them. Like they need the air."

In an ironic-ish manner, emerge some themes that are recurrent in Allen's filmography: god, love, death, the irrationality of life, the need for illusions, and the difficulty of finding a place in this play called life.

The story is typical Allen, with overlapping plots, people who in a way or another are interrelated to one another and only serves as a plot device, and the characters are all individuals and they all have a nice moment on screen.

With a beautiful black and white photography, Allen evokes the German Expressionism, and throws in some Franz Kafka's "The Process" in the process.

Brecht's score is wonderful and the cast is probably the best of Allen's movies; it's unbelievable how each actor manages to stand out.

Ultimately "Shadows and Fog" is not Allen's best, but I don't really understand why it was so underrated by critics, and most of the audience.

Mention-Worthy Quotes

Kleinmann: I can't even make a leap of faith to believe in my own existence.

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