• Released
  • November 15, 1991
  • PG-13 , 1 hr 38 min
  • Suspense/Thriller
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100

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Rick Groen
With the help of an impeccable cast and with a style steeped in the past, Soderbergh has placed the persona of Kafka under a lens, and the soul he discovers is his own. [31 Jan. 1992]
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88

Miami Herald

The design of the film is breathtaking at times, veering from the jagged hyperbole of German expressionism to the drolleries of English comedy at its most daft, if not most broad. [7 Feb. 1992, p.G5]
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63

USA Today

By Mike Clark
Kafka is in glorious black and white, except for an extended color sequence near the end that recalls the visual transition in "The Wizard of Oz." The comparison is even more apropos: This middling pigmentary stunt has a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of mood, and too much put-on wizardry at its center. [4 Dec. 1991, p.5D]
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50

San Francisco Chronicle

By Edward Guthmann
It sounds promising, but it doesn't work. You get the feeling that Soderbergh, so early in his directing career, has exceeded his reach -- that the com- plicated logistics of making a film on location in eastern Europe, compounded with the challenge of bringing to life such a fundamentally lonely and passive figure, had stymied him. [17 Jan. 1992, p.D1]
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50

The Hollywood Reporter

A distinguished and able cast headed by Jeremy Irons; beautiful, mostly black-and-white cinematography; and the enchanting Prague backgrounds make for a diverting feature-length eyeful and earful, but the reconstruction of the Kafkaesque worldview never quite takes. [3 Dec. 1991]
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50

Chicago Tribune

By Dave Kehr
Steven Soderbergh's Kafka is a surprisingly cold, gray and flavorless follow-up to "sex, lies and videotape." [7 Feb. 1992]
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50

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Kafka, as subject or character, simply doesn't fit into the world of this film. Soderbergh does demonstrate again here that he's a gifted director, however unwise in his choice of project.
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38

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The film makes a few starts in many directions but doesn't go very far in any, and that's disappointing to those of us who thought so much of Soderbergh's previous effort. Oh, well, everyone's entitled to a clunker now and then. [7 Feb. 1992, p.3F]
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38

Boston Globe

By Jay Carr
Despite its good looks and expertly turned performances, it trivializes Kafka and his work. The simplistic optimism behind it is more terrifying than anything we actually see on screen. Sitting through Kafka is like watching somebody staff a suicide hotline by telling callers to just lighten up. [21 Feb. 1992, p.28]
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33

Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
The movie is MTV Kafka: Instead of dialogue, character, behavior, it has a look and a mood. And that's all it has.
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46 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.