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Steve Soderbergh did a 180 degree turnaround from his debut film sex, lies, and videotape with Kafka, a stark art-film fable for literature majors. Jeremy Irons plays a fictional Franz Kafka, living in Prague in 1919. By day, Kafka works in a massive, impersonal insurance company. At night, he spends his time alone writing stories about men who turn into giant cockroaches. Although quiet and solitary, he becomes a suspect in a murder investigation conducted by Inspector Grubach (Armin Mueller-Stahl) when a friend of his turns up dead. Rather than being harassed by Grubach, Kafka decides to… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Steven Soderbergh's Kafka is a very bad well-directed movie."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"The effect is artistic, but it's also obvious when the material cried out for unsettling."
‑ Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"the film has a shallow, sophomoric earnestness"
‑ Douglas Pratt, DVDLaser
"Overwrought over long and over indulgent"
‑ Michael Szymanski, Zap2it.com
"A stimulating blend of biography, hypothesis, interpretation and afterthought. It's a story about the 20th century."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"Soderbergh does demonstrate again here that he's a gifted director, however unwise in his choice of project."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"All the Kafka basics are there for the literary types to muse over and it has great entertainment value in its unpretentious playfulness."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Incomprehensible but interesting."
‑ Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
"Lem Dobb's script doesn't rely on comprehension or linearity, but the whole scope of the project has its compelling root."
‑ Greg Muskewitz, eFilmCritic.com
"A movie about Franz Kafka? It's a good idea for a microsecond. Then it dissolves into a dumb proposition."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Soderbergh's sophomore jinx, a pastiche of styles (noir, German Expressionism) and themes (personal and political oppression), further hampered by the vastly miscast Jeremy Irons."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"One of Soderbergh's most fascinating films."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Quite often, the visual feast is enough to hold audience attention. But, in the end, it all feels rather empty."
‑ Chris Hicks, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for Kafka on Rotten Tomatoes