Philadelphia Weekly
Matt Prigge

In Valery Fokin's Kafka adaptation, it takes 17 minutes for Gregor Samsa to turn into a bug, which is 17 minutes too many. It ain't easy adapting the social-outcast writer's work (just ask Steven Soderbergh), which is why filmmakers like Polanski (and to a more subtle degree Jan Svankmajer) prefer to be Kafkaesque rather than all-out Kafka. Lucky for us, excepting the lengthy buildup – and a smattering of perfunctory dream sequences – Fokin keeps to the tale's essentials. He manages an air of absurd discomfort that, while nowhere in the league of the greats, makes for more of a near-miss than a near-disaster. And he has Yevgeny Mironov, a classic nervous everyman who makes up for the lack of makeup or costuming with an acrobatic and affecting performance.