Two separate but interweaving stories of the moral choices made in crumbling marriages and marital infidelity are presented. An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife, while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated by another woman.
Dramatically, the film seldom fulfils its promise, and its pessimistic 'moral' -- that good and evil do not always meet with their just deserts -- looks contrived and hollow. Intriguing and patchily effective, nevertheless.
The movie's secret strength -- its structure, really -- comes from the truth of the dozens and dozens of particular details through which it arrives at its own very hesitant, not especially comforting, very moving generality.
January 01, 2000
A relative of Hannah and Her Sisters in its duplex structure and of The Purple Rose of Cairo in its bitter theme, Crimes is two movies in one, a blend of Allen's satiric and pretentious dramatic styles.
The overall 'philosophical' thrust -- that good guys finish last and that crime does pay -- is designed to make the audience feel very wise, but none of the characters or ideas is allowed to develop beyond its cardboard profile.