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Shadows and Fog recreates the chiaroscuro aesthetic of German Expressionism, but Woody Allen's rambling screenplay retreads the director's neurotic obsessions with derivative results. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A serial strangler is on the loose, and a mob of neighborhood vigilantes is on the hunt. When several neighbors wake up the skittish Max Kleinman (Woody Allen), a bookkeeper, they want him to get dressed and join the search party. Finally pulling himself together, Kleinman goes downstairs to find no one waiting for him. Left to investigate alone, he winds up in one predicament after another, which eventually leads him to meet Irmy (Mia Farrow), a sword swallower from the visiting circus.

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Critic Reviews for Shadows and Fog

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (13)

Audience Reviews for Shadows and Fog

  • Mar 31, 2021
    An interesting failure. If 70%-80% of the dialogue had been cut out the visual elements would have taken over the narrative which, given the kind of homage this is, would have been more engaging.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2012
    Shadows and Fog, Woody's love letter to German Expressionism, boasts some cleverly detailed mise-en-scenes and 20s inspired shot scales, but it's little more than a replication.
    Jonathan H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2011
    I can see why "Shadows and Fog" was met with such mixed reaction. There's not much of a plot and the final twenty or so minutes are completely preposterous. But that's not saying that I didn't find it interesting. The black-and-white cinematography is marvelous, the numerous celebrity cameos are a treat, and Woody Allen's comedic performance is splendidly funny. Plus, there are several moments of truth, with topics ranging from religion to existentialism to family values. "Shadows and Fog" is not necessarily a "good" film, but it's very enjoyable.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2011
    This is not one of Woody Allen's best film. I was distracted by the story and of Allen who plays a nervous clerk sent out by his vigilante friends to keep a look out for a serial killer. Then the story involves a couple who works at a circus, they break apart because the husband is caught of adultury, so the wife (Mia Farrow) runs away and meets a prostitute (Lily Tomlin) who offers her to stay for the night but is offered $700 by a clientele (John Cusack). Then the Farrow character gets busted by the cops and is ordered to pay a fine and finally meets Allen's character to find the lurking serial killer. The slapstick humour was so plain and wasteful I wasn't really laughing because I thought to myself and said "Haven't I've seen this suff before?" Towards the end of the film I didn't care if Allen and his cast found the killer or not because the movie already dived and bombed. There is an excellent all star cast and a tremendous black and white look reminiscent to the films of German Expressionism and film noir, but imo it is better to rent or watch those films on DVD/TCM. If one is going to pay homage, might as well make it compelling and moving like "The Artist". "Shadows And Fog" is not a success.
    Brian R Super Reviewer

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