HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
Bat People, The
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Tower
Message from the King
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Shadows and Fog I Mist AgainBuy this film here.
Year: 1991
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Woody Allen, Kathy Bates, John Cusack, Mia Farrow, Jodie Foster, Fred Gwynne, Julie Kavner, Madonna, John Malkovich, Kenneth Mars, Kate Nelligan, Donald Pleasence, Lily Tomlin, Robert Joy, Wallace Shawn, Kurtwood Smith, Josef Sommer, David Ogden Stiers
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's a killer loose in the city, and he always emerges when it is a foggy night just like tonight. This has led vigilante gangs to roam the streets in the hope that they will catch him before he strangles another victim, but so far they have been unsuccessful. It is this state of affairs that has humble clerk Kleinman (Woody Allen) awoken in the early hours by some of the vigilantes who demand he joins them on their search, and while he is reluctant, he cannot come up with a convincing reason not to, so is forced to put on his suit and venture outside...

Seems nobody was much satisfied with Shadows and Fog when it was initially released, as most could not see past the visual homages to German expressionist cinema of decades before, the Franz Kafka elements and, naturally, the circus reminiscent of occasional Ingmar Bergman works (though curiously Federico Fellini went unmentioned). There's too much of other people's efforts in here, went the complaint, and not enough stuff individual to Allen, and that in spite of the writer-director-star portraying one of his most recognisable incarnations as the hounded lead character, the plot's menace ideal for his wisecracking coward act.

Indeed, the black and white photography, the most striking aspect thanks to Carlo Di Ponti's expert endeavours, conjured up memories of Bob Hope thrillers where he had to negotiate his way around dangerous situations while still managing to keep his sense of humour, actually clinging onto his jokes like a life raft in a hostile ocean. When Kleinman ends up being a suspect, not for the whole string of crimes but as a copycat, it's the ideal nightmare for the Allen style, seeing his meekness and ability to view things from an ironic perspective turn to a liability as the other, humourless characters cannot see what's funny and turn on him.

Another target for those naysayers who didn't like what the filmmaker had done here - and it was his equivalent of a superproduction, splashing the cash on large sets in his most expensive work to that point - was the way that it seemed as if all those celebrities who had been hankering after a role in a Woody Allen movie got their wish. Literally not a couple of minutes went by before yet another familiar face hoved into view, with an all-star cast taking in everyone from Madonna and John Malkovich (at the circus) to John Cusack and Jodie Foster (at the brothel), the only place you would see such an eclectic collection in one film.

Even the bit parts displayed Allen's knack for casting the sort of player who would go on to be more successful, with John C. Reilly and William H. Macy appearing in tiny roles. But if that was a distraction, and many found it to be the case, if you listened to what they were saying there may not have been an abundance of hilarious lines but there were some interesting philosophical observations to be made. It's just that there were a variety of them, rendering this more of a mishmash than anything as slick as its imagery would offer. But that imagery was most captivating, the overall gloom and sinister take on an unnamed city employing a genuine threat to the characters, and it was amusing to see Allen verbally spar with, say, Donald Pleasence for a touch of the macabre, although the business with Mia Farrow's subplot was feeling rather tired by this time. If you could stomach the would-be charming puzzle ending, which was more twee and twinkly, then Shadows and Fog was better than its reputation.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1212 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Woody Allen  (1935 - )

American writer/director/actor and one of the most distinctive talents in American film-making over the last three decades. Allen's successful early career as a stand-up comedian led him to start his directing life with a series of madcap, scattershot comedies that included Bananas, Sleeper and Love and Death. 1975's Oscar-winning Annie Hall was his first attempt to weave drama and comedy together, while 1979's Manhattan is considered by many critics to be Allen's masterpiece.

Throughout the 80s Allen tried his hand at serious drama (Another Woman), warm comedy (Broadway Danny Rose, Radio Days) and more experimental films (Zelig, Stardust Memories). Some were great, some less so, but pictures like Hannah and her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanours are among the decade's best.

The 90s saw Allen keep up his one-film-a-year work-rate, the most notable being the fraught Husbands and Wives, gangster period piece Bullets Over Broadway, the savagely funny Deconstructing Harry and the under-rated Sweet and Lowdown. After a run of slight, average comedies, Allen returned to more ambitious territory with the split-story Melinda and Melinda, the dark London-set drama Match Point, romantic drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona, one of many of his films which won acting Oscars, and the unexpected late-on hits Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine. In any case, he remains an intelligent, always entertaining film-maker with an amazing back catalogue.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: