The Trial (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Trial (1993)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Franz Kafka's classic tale of Josef K., a bank clerk who is placed on trial for an unnamed, unknowable crime, is given a faithful, if not overly literal, treatment in this drama. Knowing only that he has been charged, Josef naturally sets out to defend himself, but soon finds himself deeply mired in a battle against an incomprehensible government bureaucracy. Following Orson Welles's adaptation of the book by some three decades, director David Jones chooses to avoid the earlier film's expressionistic approach. Instead, he sets Josef's travails against a realistic background that specifically recalls Eastern Europe during the early 20th century, the time of the book's writing. Similarly, the screenplay by famed British playwright Harold Pinter, whose own darkly absurd vision owes much to Kafka, hews closely to the original text. This faithful approach helps ground the story in historical reality, and allows for a good use of brooding Prague locations. However, many critics have found this approach less effective than the low-budget abstraction of Welles' version, which is more successful at highlighting the universality and symbolic nature of the tale.


Juliet Stevenson
as Mrs. Burstner
Alfred Molina
as Titorelli
Patrick Godfrey
as Court Usher
Douglas Hodge
as Inspector
Paul Brooke
as Deputy Bank Manager
Harry Burton
as K's assistant
Leon Lissek
as Stairman
Trevor Peacock
as Examining Magistrate
Jiri Schmitzer
as Thin Defendant
Robert Lang
as K's Uncle
John Woodvine
as Herr Deimen
Karel Augusta
as Executioner
Petr Drozda
as Executioner
Petr Skarke
as Man in the Window
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Critic Reviews for The Trial

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

It is a solid, respectable screen adaptation, but it lacks the madness.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The idea of Kafka's spirit conspiring with Pinter's language seems almost too diabolical for words. But in the playwright's new screen version of the novelist's 1925 classic, The Trial, their sensibilities dovetail beautifully.

October 23, 2019 | Full Review…

The trial was sitting through this film

September 20, 2002 | Rating: 1/5

Audience Reviews for The Trial


Did anyone completely get this film? It's possibly one of the strangest films I have ever seen and I've not yet worked out, whether I liked or disliked it. Fans of Anthony Hopkins beware, the dvd cover blatently shows Anthony Hopkins, but he appears in the film for about 5 minutes. This is one you definitely have to make your own mind up with.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

The Trial Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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