Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 17
  2. Negative: 7 out of 17

Critic Reviews

  1. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Feb 12, 2013
    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]
  2. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Reviewed by: Joe Pollack
    Feb 12, 2013
    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]
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 12, 2013
    The movie is MTV Kafka: Instead of dialogue, character, behavior, it has a look and a mood. And that's all it has.
  4. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Feb 12, 2013
    Trying for a tone somewhere between an art film, an absurdist comedy, a horror movie and an old Saturday-matinee serial, he's made a handsome, cripplingly self-conscious thriller that's devoid of any real thrills. [3 Feb. 1992, p.65]
  5. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Feb 12, 2013
    Kafka is opaque without ever being mysterious, frightening or suggestive of anything but movie making. Its chases through dark narrow streets don't create suspense, since nothing is at stake.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Feb 12, 2013
    The story ultimately feels too conventional, and the portrait of the artist is too shallow to stand as a compelling or convincing evocation of a complex mind.
  7. Reviewed by: Rita Kempley
    Feb 12, 2013
    Perhaps Steven Soderbergh's metamorphosis from clever Cajun auteur ("sex, lies, and videotape") to heavy-duty Eastern European angst-master has been altogether too successful. Like authentic Soviet Bloc cinema, Kafka makes its audience suffer along with its heroes.

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