Kafka (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Kafka (1991)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Kafka Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Steve Soderbergh did a 180 degree turnaround from his debut film sex, lies, and videotape with Kafka, a stark art-film fable for literature majors. Jeremy Irons plays a fictional Franz Kafka, living in Prague in 1919. By day, Kafka works in a massive, impersonal insurance company. At night, he spends his time alone writing stories about men who turn into giant cockroaches. Although quiet and solitary, he becomes a suspect in a murder investigation conducted by Inspector Grubach (Armin Mueller-Stahl) when a friend of his turns up dead. Rather than being harassed by Grubach, Kafka decides to investigate his friend's murder on his own. Kafka speaks to his dead friend's girlfriend, Gabriela (Theresa Russell) and talks with gravestone carver Bizzlebek (Jeroen Krabbe). Kafka follows the clues to the Castle, a menacing tower that casts its shadow over the city and houses files on everything. He winds his way through the cellars and tunnels of the Castle, where he encounters the evil and insidious Dr. Murnau (Ian Holm), whom he hopes holds the solution to the murder.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Lem Dobbs
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 22, 1992
Paramount Home Video


Jeremy Irons
as Franz Kafka
Joel Grey
as Burgel
Ian Holm
as Murnau
Jeroen Krabbé
as Bizzlebek
Armin Mueller-Stahl
as Insp. Grubach
Alec Guinness
as Chief Clerk
Brian Glover
as Henchman
Leon Silver
as Friend of Kafka
David Shaw Parker
as Interrogating Attend...
Karel Belohradsky
as Inspector's Assistan...
Keith Allen
as Assistant Ludwig
Zuzana Halustokov
as Friend of Kafka
Simon McBurney
as Assistant Oscar
Robert Flemyng
as The Keeper of the Fl...
Matyelok Gibbs
as Concierge
Ion Caramitru
as Solemn Anarchist
Hilde Van Mieghem
as Female Anarchist
Hilde Van Meighem
as Female Anarchist
Jan Nemejovský
as Mustachioed Anarchis...
Toon Agterberg
as Youthful Anarchist
Emil Wolk
as Man Under Microscope
Josef Abrhám
as Friend of Kafka
Guy Fithen
as Friend of Kafka
Zuzana Halustokova
as Friend of Kafka
Ondrej Havelka
as Friend of Kafka
Lenka Korinkova
as Friend of Kafka
Petr Lepsa
as Friend of Kafka
Debora Weston
as Friend of Kafka
Jan Slovák
as Man at Bar
Jerome Flynn
as Castle Attendant
Ewan Stewart
as Castle Attendant
James McPhee
as Castle Attendant
Lubos Rychvalsky
as Kidnapped Vagrant
Pavel Myslik
as Vagrant
Petr Jakl
as Quarry Laborer
Josef Sebek
as Inspector's Assistan...
Robert Krejcik
as Evil Wagon Driver
Vitezsalv Bouchner
as Lens Cleaner
Dave Jensen
as The Laughing Man
David Jensen
as The Laughing Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Kafka

Critic Reviews for Kafka

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (7)

Steven Soderbergh's Kafka is a very bad well-directed movie.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The effect is artistic, but it's also obvious when the material cried out for unsettling.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

A movie about Franz Kafka? It's a good idea for a microsecond. Then it dissolves into a dumb proposition.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Soderbergh does demonstrate again here that he's a gifted director, however unwise in his choice of project.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Kafka


Beautiful to look at but ever so slight.

Steve K

Super Reviewer


Mysterious and stylish but incoherent and empty, "Kafka" is a good-looking disappointment for director Steven Soderbergh. Impressive camerawork and snappy editing ensure that it won't be forgotten, but there just simply isn't enough going on to make it entertaining. The characters and story are dull, and on top of that, it's confusing.

Stephen Earnest
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer


Moody, mysterious, and measured thriller shot in beautiful black & white except for a pivotal sequence inside "the Castle." Soderbergh's best film is quite unlike any other in dropping Jeremy Irons, utterly convincing as Franz Kafka circa 1919 Prague, amidst a very Kafkaesque series of encounters. The insurance clerk's appointed assistants are two of the funniest oddball characters in film history. I last watched this 15 years ago until tonight and was completely reaffirmed why this remains one of my favorites of the 1990s.

Doctor Strangeblog

Super Reviewer

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