28 May 2007

57. crimes and misdemeanors



"he sees the righetous and the wicked...the wicked will be punished for eternity."
the movie states that we are always sinning, and that god is always watching us. sometimes are sins are big: we have committed adultery, we have committed murder. sometimes the sins are small: we are slothful and out of work, we covet what we can't have. but god is keeping tabs on us no matter what kinds of sins we are committing. so what does it say about god that those who are the most wicked, those who commit the worst sins, end up prospering?

'i remember my father telling me, "the eyes of god are on us always."'
the motif of eyes in the movie is not a small one. it is multi-faceted: god is watching us, overseeing all we do. dolores' eyes are shown open, looking up at judah after he's had her killed. "the eyes are the window to the soul." judah is an ophthalmologist, who helps people with their eyes. in this case, he helps others to see that the "right" path may not be the one that is most successful. after all, months after the murder, he has "prospered" and largely forgotten about his old lover; meanwhile, clifford has languished and is a wreck. and what does it say that the most holy man in the movie, sam waterson's rabbi, slowly goes blind?

"we've gone from a small infidelity to the meaning of the universe."
technically the writing is magnificent. the set-up is economical and stacked with so much information: judah's social standing, his infidelity, the religious and moral questions he addresses, the "sight" motif, the tone of the piece -- drama with some good comedy to make the drama go down smoother.

the flashback structure is elegant, with characters looking off into the distance for a moment, then going right into the flashback with little fanfare.

i also like how woody allen ends lots of scenes with laughs. i do this myself a lot in my writing, and i think it is a good technique to keep the audience watching and waiting for each new scene, and ends a scene with a cherry on top.

and it is a tragedy that ends with a wedding (in which the two storylines beautifully come together), like comedies are classically shown to do. what is allen trying to say with that trick?

"a strange man defecated on my sister."
the movie's main point is that the world is chaotic, that god may be watching us, but he doesn't care about the results, and life makes no sense and we can't count on justice, morality or our sense of what is right to prevail.

"god have mercy on us."

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