The Trial (1993)




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Franz Kafka's classic tale of Josef K., a bank clerk who is placed on trial for an unnamed, unknowable crime, is given a faithful, if not overly literal, treatment in this drama. Knowing only that he has been charged, Josef naturally sets out to defend himself, but soon finds himself deeply mired in a battle against an incomprehensible government bureaucracy. Following Orson Welles's adaptation of the book by some three decades, director David Jones chooses to avoid the earlier film's expressionistic approach. Instead, he sets Josef's travails against a realistic background that specifically recalls Eastern Europe during the early 20th century, the time of the book's writing. Similarly, the screenplay by famed British playwright Harold Pinter, whose own darkly absurd vision owes much to Kafka, hews closely to the original text. This faithful approach helps ground the story in historical reality, and allows for a good use of brooding Prague locations. However, many critics have found this approach less effective than the low-budget abstraction of Welles' version, which is more successful at highlighting the universality and symbolic nature of the tale.
Art House & International , Drama
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Written By:
In Theaters:
Angelika Films


Kyle MacLachlan
as Josef K.
Jason Robards
as Dr. Hud
Juliet Stevenson
as Mrs. Burstner
Alfred Molina
as Titorelli
Tony Haygarth
as Willem
Patrick Godfrey
as Court Usher
Douglas Hodge
as Inspector
Ondrej Vetchý
as Kaminer
Jean Stapleton
as Landlady
Paul Brooke
as Deputy Bank Manager
Harry Burton
as K's assistant
Leon Lissek
as Stairman
Trevor Peacock
as Examining Magistrate
Andrew Tiernan
as Berthold
Jiri Schmitzer
as Thin Defendant
Don Henderson
as Flogger
Robert Lang
as K's Uncle
John Woodvine
as Herr Deimen
Karel Augusta
as Executioner
Petr Drozda
as Executioner
Petr Skarke
as Man in the Window
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Critic Reviews for The Trial

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

The trial was sitting through this film

September 19, 2002

Quote not available.

July 5, 2005

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April 3, 2002
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

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Full Review… | December 31, 1999
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Audience Reviews for The Trial


Did anyone completely get this film? It's possibly one of the strangest films I have ever seen and I've not yet worked out, whether I liked or disliked it. Fans of Anthony Hopkins beware, the dvd cover blatently shows Anthony Hopkins, but he appears in the film for about 5 minutes. This is one you definitely have to make your own mind up with.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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