Crimes and Misdemeanors

Woody Allen's most fully realized movie, in which he pits traditional faith in a "moral order" against modern secular existentialism, via a parallel plot structure which ties together in an amazing final sequence. Judah Rosenthal is a successful ophthalmologist with a secret mistress who plans to ruin his life by going public about Judah's infidelities and financial improprieties. Cliff Stern is a struggling filmmaker making a documentary about a philosopher who suddenly commits suicide. Judah arranges for the murder of his mistress. Cliff falls for a woman who spurns his earnest affection for the seductive power of a more successful producer who will help her career. Though Judah feels "the eyes of God are on us always," his murder goes unpunished, and in fact, he prospers. Cliff's undeserved bad luck is balanced by his hope and his insight at an editing table and in a darkened movie theater, where he realizes life is not something passively experienced but something we give meaning to in each moment.
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