Blu-ray Review: The Trial

There are probably no other American directors who can hold a candle to Orson Welles when it comes to being an enigma. The larger-than-life figure left a huge mark on cinema. He was a genius who had a habit of starting a project and then getting distracted. Or running out of money. Then again, when your first film is Citizen Kane, you have a hard act to follow. He completed just over a dozen films. The Trial is one of his most intriguing.

Josef K. (Anthony Perkins) is rudely awoken from his slumbers by an unnamed man who promptly places him under open arrest. His crime? Well, he has no idea really. Three work colleagues have evidence and are ready to testify against him, but this doesn’t bring him any closer to uncovering the truth. He seeks the counsel of an advocate (Welles), but finds little help. As the clock ticks down, Josef frantically tries to find a way out of his predicament.

The Trial takes one of Franz Kafka’s most difficult novels and does a very good job of adapting it to the big screen. As usual, Welles’ eye for a shot is on point. His world is visually arresting, with cinematographer Edmond Richard making great use of light and shadow. The material struggles to transport itself into a cinematic environment, but we’re taken on a journey in The Trial which is both a faithful portrayal and something new entirely.


  • This is Orson Welles
  • New Trailer
  • Welles – Architect of Light
  • Interview with Steven Berkoff
  • Deleted Scene
  • Trailer

The 4k restoration of The Trial will be released on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Studiocanal on 21 November.

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