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If you think that a story by Kafka is too nuanced to convert successfully to a movie, think again. It’s Orson Welles at the helm, so it’s important and a good cult classic overall.
I personally believe that Orson nailed it when it comes to portraying Kafkaesque scenarios, characters, and situations in a movie. Even if others will sustain that it ain’t possible. Well, it is, and this movie proves it.
Mr. K (Anthony Perkins) wakes up a morning to a world that is, seemingly, against him. He’s accused of an indefinite crime, infraction, or transgression of the rules and regulations and entered into the judicial system.
What exactly he is accused of, it’s never disclosed, but he is awarded a case, something that pisses him to no end. From there he must navigate the judicial system and defend his case.
What would be a Kafka-based, Orson Welles movie like this one without scenes featuring extras? The scenes with extras in this movie are something else entirely.
I, personally, would qualify them as cinematic art. I watched this movie one week ago, and off the top of my mind, I can still remember three great scenes with masses of extras.
It may be due to my previous reading and liking of Kafka’s stories? If others who didn’t read any Kafka and watched this movie thought it was artsy and not good, then yes, maybe I may be biased in loving it.
The intro and back-cover of this movie is pure beauty. My interpretation of it is just too above anyone else, but I’m reluctant to share it. Okay, I’ll share it.
If taking the oneiric and gordian nature of the story together with the bookends’ narrative then, for me, it’s a sad story about mister K being dead and egoically imprisoned in a useless lower-astral plane, even a hellish one for moments, without a clue and without any capacity for happiness or evolution of the soul unless the ego is released.
That’s just my personal interpretation. With any story by Kafka, one can arrive at crazy meanings due to the bizarre composition style they have.
Even more so in the case of this movie, that is so bizarre an ambiguous that is hard to believe that it manages to be those two things and, at the same time, have an actual plot and realistic characters that are not just one-dimensional or two-dimensional shades.
Is THE TRIAL a Cult Classic of Interest for Horror Lovers?
I wouldn’t recommend this indisputable cult classic to analytical snobs or shallow persons that would reject it based on it being from a book by Kafka.
I recommend this movie to lovers of Orson Welles’ movies, readers of Kafka, and everyone else that likes a story to have the necessary depth to allow for multiple interpretations. Also, to those who are interested in good cinematic photography.
Sad That There isn’t Horror Cult Classics by Orson
In “The Trial” Welles’ capacity to create nightmare scenarios is well proven. It’s a pity that he never did a movie that was 100% horror, but it is understandable. After the “War of The Worlds” fiasco, he might have been traumatized by the real life horrors that it caused, and may not have wanted to have anything to do with the genre because of what happened.
© Bholenath Valsan 2021 — Orson Welles’ THE TRIAL Review – Cult Classic