"The Castle" starts with K.(Ulrich Muhe), a land surveyor, arriving in a small town one night to start work for the local castle. The only room in the inn is a spot on the floor. Regardless, he sleeps well until woken by Barnabas(Andre Eisermann), the castellan, who informs him that he will need permission from the castle to stay. Thankfully, that is quickly rectified to the satisfaction of K. And soon, Artur(Frank Giering) and Jeremiah(Felix Eitner), his filthy assistants, arrive but without the requisite equipment. At least, K. can get a drink at the local beer hall where he catches the friendly eye of Frieda(Susanne Lothar), the barmaid.
In this adaptation of Franz Kafka's classic absurd novel, Michael Haneke gets certain things perfectly right, like the overall tone and the cadence of speech, aided by copious selections from the source material. That's not to mention the excellent performances. However, Haneke brings nothing visually to the table and is otherwise limited by his own success as a writer, as the same fidelity eventually works against the movie as it falls into the same trap as K.(symbolizing modernity against a feudal society) does in endlessly searching for such comforts as a job, a place to live and somebody to be with. While K. is constantly at the mercy of functionaries, known and unknown, the viewer loses track of who is who in this labyrinthine tale before it all just comes to a halt. And unless it is a Danny Kaye routine, that is not a lot of fun for anybody.