For Reel

The Trial (1962)
July 7, 2017, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Orson Welles
5 Stars
The TrialEarly in The Trial, Joseph K. (Anthony Perkins) tries to protest as the police rifle through is belongings, often flubbing his own word choice while criticizing the policemen for the same issue (“Ovular isn’t even a word!”). These problems with language both cast further guilt on Joseph K while laying the groundwork for Orson Welles’ nightmare to come, which similarly deals in incoherence and miscommunications. In this world, it’s best not to question why a trunk needs to be hauled to and fro, but rather to accept it. As the put upon bureaucrat, Perkins brilliant rests between fragility and anger. His affable nervousness casts him as an everyman, but these very ticks establish the maddening tone. The film’s radical angles and senseless set design further this theme of discomfort. When called to the judge’s stand, there’s barely any room for Joseph K to perch there, and later he lays with Romy Schneider in a pile of discarded files and books that seems to swallow them whole. When Welles speaks of the trickery of moviemaking in F for Fake, one can imagine he felt The Trial was his most grandiose display of it (he has in interview said that The Trial is his best film, and one might interpret his definition of “best” as playing into that idea of trickery)—the relationships between spaces are obscured in a way only permitted by movies and dreams.

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