Shadows and Fog Reviews
- Loves them. They need them. Like they need the air."
A serial killer is on the loose in a small European village and the villagers cannot stand it anymore. Kleinman is a reluctant hero, but when the villagers approach him about bringing the killer down, he tries his best to stay out of it. When the murders start hitting close to home, Kleinman partners with some strange characters to find the killer and bring him in.
"I'll find a place at the house."
"The whore house."
Woody Allen, director of Bananas, Midnight in Paris, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Scoop, Alice, Radio Days, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Zelig, and Crimes and Misdemeanors, delivers Shadow and Fog. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and fun to watch unfold. The character development and evolution was not on the level of other Woody Allen pictures. The cast was amazing and delivers perfect performances. The cast includes Allen, John Cusack, Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, Madonna, and Lily Tomlin.
"Why would any man want identical whores?"
I grabbed this off Netflix because I thought a Woody Allen mixed with horror genre film would be cool. It was fun and I was impressed by the cast, but I wished Allen did more with the characters as a whole. I do recommend seeing this picture, but it isn't an all time great Woody Allen gem.
"You cringe in front of him like a worm."
After seeing who was starring in this movie, I was really looking forward to it, but once again, Woody Allen's constant babbling and silly humour just didn't work for me. The whole town is scared to leave there homes because there is a serial killer on the lose and they gather together to try and capture him. They form different gangs, who don't get along and all the way through the film, Woody Allen is completely left out of the loop. With such an intense situation, Allen's character is going around spurting out these annoying one liners which gets on everyone's nerves, including mine. On top of that, you've got the squeaky Mia Farrow whose in a troubled relationship and ends up sleeping with Cusack for loads of money. I liked the banter with the prostitutes, played by Kathy Bates, Jodie Foster and Lily Tomlin, but the storyline gets a bit weak after a while. It would have been much better if it was a whodunit because you see who the killer is, way to early in the movie. Anyway, I think it was a waste of a great cast and I personally thought that Allen and Farrow spoilt the movie. Disappointing!
I was expecting Madonna to have a big part in this film, after seeing her face all over the poster, but she's only in one scene. You do see a few famous people along the way, like John C. Reilly and William H. Macy, but I doubt that you will notice them. Judging by the box office takings, I wasn't the only one that thought that this movie was a bit weak. Basically, for a suspense thriller, there really wasn't that much suspense or thrilling happening, so it has to get the thumbs down from me.
Domestic Gross: $3million (Terrible!)
I recommend this movie to people who are into there Woody Allen movies about a town of people trying to capture a serial killer. 3/10
The story of Woody's character being waken up in the middle of the night to work with a vigilante group after a serial killer.
Filled with beautiful atmosphere & shots & the use of the fog is fantastic. Woody is fantastic as his usual Neurotic Self & this film is a real riot. Like many of his films very over the top but enjoyable.
The movie begins promisingly enough, with a clerk named Kleinman (Allen) being woken in the middle of the night somewhere in 1920s or 1930s Eastern Europe by a posse of men out to catch a local serial killer. The idea of Allen hunting for a serial killer is pretty funny, and the movie does get some laughs whenever it focuses on his storyline, but unfortunately it spends a lot of time on a second, less interesting plot. Mia Farrow plays Irmy, a circus performer who runs away from her home after she finds her clown husband (John Malkovich) cheating on her with another performer (Madonna, oddly wasted in only one scene). She is taken in by a group of street-smart, down-to-earth prostitutes (including Lily Tomlin, Jodie Foster, and Kathy Bates), and unexpectedly finds herself mistaken for one by an eager young man (John Cusack). The cast all give decent performances, though many of them end up reduced to only a scene or two.
When the movie focuses on Allen's character, it manages to get some easygoing, if predictable, laughs from the tension between Allen's neurotic persona and the supposedly high-stakes business of catching a serial killer. The ending, featuring the sorely under-used and under-appreciated comedic actor Kenneth Mars as a magician, is particularly kind of delightful. But the scenes focusing on Farrow's character are almost never funny, and don't really have much of a dramatic arc, either. They feel brought in from a different movie. While Allen effectively used the comedic and dramatic halves of his earlier Crimes and Misdemeanors to comment on each other, in this case the two strands of the plot just kind of sit next to each other without any very compelling reason to be together. While the Farrow storyline isn't terrible per se, it just doesn't feel like it needs to be in the same movie with the other material.
Visually, the black-and-white movie makes its relationship to German Expressionism quite clear, almost to the point of overkill, actually. There really is quite an emphasis on shadows, but they're so omnipresent and so dark that for much of the movie you can't really see the actors' faces. While Allen is certainly capable of using black-and-white and shadow artfully (see: Manhattan), in this movie he overdoes it, and it's distracting just how dark everything is all the time. The set design is nicely evocative, but again, you can hardly see much of it. Overall, this isn't Allen's weakest movie (I would still say that would be You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), but it never feels like it reaches its full potential. It's occasionally amusing and has a distinct visual identity, but the story ends up falling short of Allen's better movies.