Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors ★★★★½

88/100

I'm pretty sure that I'll never get around to watching every Woody Allen film, and that's not just because of his varying degrees of quality (going from Midnight in Paris to To Rome with Love is one of the multiple examples of dips in caliber), but because no matter what, he's so goddamn prolific. By the time I catch up to another one of his most renowned works, it feels like he's released two more.

Funny enough, I feel that it is Allen's scattershot and conveyor-belt-esque filmography that adds to his more influential and masterful efforts, and with Crimes and Misdemeanors, it proves that when a Woody Allen film works, it really works.

With a universally strong and varied cast, Crimes and Misdemeanors is a striking amalgamation of Allen's thought-process and his relationship with God, human experiences, and (as broad as it may sound), life. With a tinge of suspense and searing energy, Allen explores all the topics and emotions that he usually loves to dig into, but with an added element to character.

The viewer connects to typical "Allen" protagonists in Crimes and Misdemeanors, but what is most interesting is the blunt conversation of these typical topics and how the characters themselves are struggling with those very same issues. It isn't like in Midnight in Paris where Owen Wilson is a reflection of Woody. Instead, these problems feed into the winding narrative and raise every character into a three-dimensional personality, no matter the similarity to Allen himself.

These personalities make up one of Allen's most emotionally satisfying films, especially when it comes to the story structure and the usage of flashbacks. Not only did I feel that I was watching real people, but I also realized that Allen's shtick was grounding them in a way that no other filmmaker could achieve. Even with the masterful beauty of Manhattan and the influential gravitas of Annie Hall, this drama feels like the film Woody Allen was born to make. Mischievous, yet weighted in reality, Crimes and Misdemeanors is an astonishing journey through pain and human monstrosity.

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