Monday, September 12, 2005

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors
directed by Woody Allen

A far cry from the usual escapist fare reviewed here, Crimes and Misdemeanors is a deep, penetrating look into morality in a godless world. A very rich and powerful doctor, played with bottled passion by Martin Landau, chooses to kill a woman rather than allow her to reveal their affair. If the "eyes of God" are upon him, then why are there no consequences to his actions? Or, to ask the question another way, if you murder someone and there is no one to see it, did you commit a crime? Given Allen's famous atheism and the fact that the voice of God in the film, a rabbi, is going blind, the answer the film comes up with are suitably bleak.

People like to bag on Woody Allen these days, but the fact is that he's made thirty five films, some of them great. This is one of them.

Discussion question: Theists often argue that with no God there is no morality. While this is a very weak argument for the existence of God (the fact that it might be beneficial for a god to exist is not an argument to suggest that he does), Allen's response in this film is "That's very true, and very frightening." What's more scary: the fact that someone could murder you, or that you could kill with no consequence?

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