Le Procès (The Trial) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Le Procès (The Trial) Reviews

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½ May 13, 2019
Unbelievably boring. Some of the shots are beautiful, but are ruined by the players and dialogue.
½ February 12, 2018
'The Trial' has a superb opening-sequence and a perfectly mastered, peculiar visual style. Orson Welle's adaptation of Kafka's novel is as mind-blowing as it is innovative, and it certainly looks avant-gardist since it highly ressembles to the most puzzling works of Stanley Kubrick (in its visuals) and David Lynch (in its storytelling). Thefore, there's much of Kafka in 'The Trial', but there's much of Welles too, and the result is, if not a masterpiece, a brilliantly shot curiosity, which is everything but empty from meaning or irrelevant. Still, truth must be told to say that 'The Trial' targets not all audiences, and those who watch it should know a little about its context in order to not be disoriented by it.
November 19, 2017
Welles' The Trial is a good adaptation. The film captures much of the spirit of the novel. I particularly like Welles' use of deep focus with the gargantuan sets to create a bureaucratic wasteland. However, the film dig drag a little and there were some tone problems. The movie is good, but it's currently my third favorite Orson Welles movie behind Citizen Kane and F For Fake.
½ November 7, 2017
My second or third Welles directed film. This is a nightmare-ish film without the big spooks. It's the very kafkaesque style creating this atmosphere, little things blown up into something big for no reason. It's stressful and pretty hard to hang on too, but it's got a very nice vibe. Some guy wakes up to some policemen arresting him. Why? They don't say, but they follow him around. He's at work and they are there, he's at home, they are there. He shifts in his ways, he can be aggressive or passive, sad or happy. Many people come to screen, he is anxious about all of them. No one is trusted. This film oozes of paranoia, and is one of the best nightmares caught on film - you can almost think you are in one yourself.

I actually dosed off and it gave me some weird mini-dreams. I rewinded about 20 minutes and was back to it again, now even more lost than I was in the beginning. It's a very confusing film and it's both it's weakness and strenght.

Lovely images, settings and camera usage. Those factory scenes with hundres of typewriter workers are fantastic. Anthony Perkins, best known for his role in "Psycho" of course, does a brilliant job as our protagonist. Pretty experimental and ahead of it's time. Orson Welles favorite film of his own, and so far mine as well. I have not liked much of his stuff so far, so this does not mean it's a total success for me, but it was more than OK.

7.5 out of 10 candles.
May 10, 2017
It is not an exercise in surrealism, but in mental mindplay. It toys with what produces dreams and puts you under a spell. A very well directed, little seen Orson Welles film that deserves recognition but not worship.
½ February 15, 2017
An Orson Welles adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel, The Trial is an excursion in noirish paranoia not dissimilar to The Third Man. Anthony Perkins plays the accused man who must try and prove his innocence but it is never made clear just what he has done. A superbly directed movie with very stirring use of Albinoni's Adagio in D which creeps in at key moments. The ending is suitably bleak. French actor Michael Lonsdale also makes an appearance in the second half.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2016
This fascinating existential nightmare is less Kafkaesque and more Wellesian, expanding physical spaces to amplify the character's feeling of smallness and impotence before a crushing judicial system and not focusing so much on the cynical gibe found in Kafka's novel.
November 29, 2016
I don't quite like it.
However, its cinematography (frame layout & perspective) was sorta impressive for a film made/released in 1962.
November 22, 2016
I kind of gave up, my little experience with Kafka, visionary put through to film by Orson Welles. Its metaphoric and abstract, and very confusing, thus a trial is to be held, without knowing why and how.
April 4, 2016
Just the opening sequence alone is worth it.
½ August 7, 2015
The logic of this story is the logic of a dream.

An average Joe that works in an office and barely makes ends meet is arrested and brought up on charges...but he is never told what those charges are. He hires the only lawyer he can afford, who happens to be a bit eccentric, methodical, and awkward in a lot of way. Half way through his trial he can't understand what is going on and will need to decide if picking this eccentric lawyer is best for his trial.

"Women have influences."

Orson Welles, director of Citizen Kane, the Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger, Macbeth, Othello, Confidential Report, Touch of Evil, and Chimes at Midnight, delivers The Trial. The storyline for this picture has many good aspects and a few eccentric out of place touches. The characters were interesting and the acting was outstanding. The cast includes Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles, Arnoldo Foa, and Jeanne Moreau.

"She finds accused men attractive."

The Trial is a movie I added to my Netflix queue when we first got Netflix and I just finally got around to watching it. I am an Orson Welles fan and was excited to see this picture. It was above average with some great acting and concepts, but it is far from perfect. This isn't a must see but it isn't a waste of time either. I'd watch this once but wouldn't add it to my DVD collection.

"Before the law there is God."

Grade: B-
½ August 6, 2015
Confusing, complex, and suspenseful, Orson Welles proves his love for cinema in The Trial: a nightmarish piece of art that brilliantly messes with your mind!
April 1, 2015
The only redeeming scene is the opening as it is good enough to deceptively make you think this film will be any good. Critics describe this as Kafkaesque, as well as being based on Kafka's work. Good thing I've never read Kafka.
½ March 5, 2015
This is a metaphorically opaque, referencially enigmatic, and darkly surreal adaptation of Franz Kafka's unfinished, dystopian masterpiece: "The Trial." Originally filmed in Yugoslavia, then moved to France, "The Trial" one of the only films on which Orson Welles was given complete directorial control, resulting in a picture that is thoroughly "Wellesian," with Welles' directorial flair on showcase throughout. The signature tracking shots, oblique and unconventional camera angles, spatious set expanses, and patently theaterical lighting permeate nearly every scene, making "The Trial" an important film for Welles fans and an essential one for Welles completists. Orson Welles reportedly considered this film, along with "Chimes at Midnight," to be his finest cinematic achievement. Similar to "Touch of Evil," this was a movie I had to watch several times before growing to love it. However, it was also a film who's content consistently remained in my mind, encouraging me to try again. The storyline is basically an absurdist, dystopian nightmare, with the main character ("Josef K.") becoming increasingly intertwined into an ominous, unending and malevolent beaurocracy, intent on prosecuting him for a crime that remains unrevealed. The metaphorical context is not clear, and indeed was never revealed by Kafka, who died before finishing the book. This leaves the viewer open to interpret the story from any number of perspectives. Is Josef K. on trial simply for his virtuousness; his lack of moral fissure(s)? Is this story a cautionary meditation on facism/communism? Is it a testimonial on the often inherited (an inescapable) nature of human guilt? We just don't know, but its a vast, although a bit difficult, work to ponder. Recommended.
February 13, 2015
beautifully and creatively directed but it moves from being profound to inaccessible over the 2 hours.
February 13, 2015
Even on my best days, my life tends to feel like this movie...
July 11, 2014
I've read most of Kafka's work, including The Trial, but it was many years ago. I think the main element of Welles' film version seems faithful to the book is the visual appearance of cavernous spaces with mindless workers toiling away, rooms filled with books and legal papers strewn around in messy piles, corridors that lead to vertigo and despair, and city scenes at night in a film noir nightmare of desolation and fear. Welles has that right, and filmed it in a powerful way, even in the digital version I watched, which I gather is nowhere near the clarity of a good quality original. The movie contains a few situations and a few strong lines that sound like Kafka to the core, but there are other elements that feel more like Welles imposing his own monomaniacal take on the Kafkaesque world. I'm not sure it's accurate to depict Josef K almost constantly in pursuit of or being seduced by attractive females, never seeming to consummate the sexual attraction, though that certainly has roots in Kafka's own psyche and his writing. Those who don't know the works of Kafka or don't care for such a world will find this film too bizarre or disturbing, not having much in common with other films you might have seen before, though it has parallels with Welles' Touch of Evil in mood and visual style. The theme of perpetual guilt and dread is definitely from Kafka, but the point is simply that we're all somehow guilty (think Original Sin) and any protestations of innocence are both conflicted and futile. The dark humor of Kafka is here in certain scenes but not quite right in tone, and Anthony Perkins is never very successful at playing K though his look is somewhat right for it. He seems too shallow most of the time. The ending, with no need for a spoiler alert, is ridiculously awful and somewhat abrupt--Welles' way of concluding the drama, not Kafka's way. "Like a dog" is the powerful wording Kafka uses to convey the horror and the despicable nature of K's death. So, in summary, this is a kind of noble failure, doomed mostly by Welles' mix of ego and excessive ambition with a work of literature that will always be most potent as an interior experience, not fit for cinema or not capable of being translated into that medium effectively. One smaller note: I was baffled by the credits in this digital version seeming to have no mention of Welles or the actors, just listing crew and so on. And I wonder if others have noticed that Welles seems to have dubbed his own voice, with quirky changes in inflection, into the speech of several characters in the film. His own performance as K's advocate is quite unnervingly good, by the way.
May 29, 2014
Expertly shot with great performances. Although it didn't interest me that much
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2014
Hastler: To be in chains is sometimes safer than to be free.

I believed after reading Franz Kafka's The Trial, that filming a story such as this would be next to impossible, and after watching Orson Welles attempt, I see that this belief was justified. Welles may have done as good a job as possible at trying to bring an unfinished and surreal story such as The Trial to screen. However, it doesn't mean that the film is a success.

Joseph K. works at a bank and is disturbed to find out that he is under arrest when two guards arrive at his room in the early morning. He isn't taken anywhere though, because they don't want to interfere with his personal, job life. They'll work the investigation around his schedule. When he asks what he is under arrest for, no one tells him. He's as confused by all this as the reader of the story, or in this case, the audience of the film is.

I really enjoyed the book, but it's one of those stories that is pretty much impossible to grasp, especially being unfinished. Welles changes aspects of the book and leaves out some important elements of the book altogether. It just goes to show how challenging an exercise it would be to make a film adaption of The Trial, especially when someone like Orson Welles can't really do it justice.
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