Kurt's Reviews > Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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's review
Apr 10, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, suspense, fiction, foreign-author
Read from April 04 to 10, 2010

One of my favorite movies is Fargo. The scene in which the character portrayed by William H. Macy is realizing that his criminal plot is unraveling while, consequently, he is psychologically wrestling with himself over how to proceed with his crime and its cover-up is, in my opinion, one of the most intense and best acted scenes in all of filmdom.

Several times as I was reading Crime and Punishment I felt the same sense of anxiety, urgency, sympathy, and dread as I felt for the William H. Macy character. The story's protagonist, Raskolnikov, is not much of a likable person, especially when he goes through with his plot and murders two women. We are kept wondering why he did it. Only much later in the novel are his real motives explained, and they turn out to be purely theoretical, not real. Yet, because of the amazing writing skills of Dostoyevski, I was able to really get a sense of the torture and anguish that Raskolnikov experienced - a great lesson about the true cost of crime to the perpetrator.

I feel like the other great lesson of this story is the fact that all of our actions nearly always affect other people besides own selves. One of the things that disturbs me about so many movies these days is how actions are so often depicted as isolated events, lacking consequences beyond the immediate progression of the story line. When a person is killed (often to solve an immediate dilemma) we are almost never shown the suffering of that person's family or loved ones, likewise we are seldom shown the suffering of the family and loved ones of characters who commit serious crimes; and apparently the audience is expected to never even ponder such things. But in this novel the suffering of Raskolnikov's family and loved ones is is a major theme.

My only criticism (one that would make me give it an honest 4.5 stars instead of the full 5) is that it is occasionally a little too wordy. Points that had been, or could have been, well explained in one page often dragged on for several pages. But, this is a very minor criticism because the writing (and the Sydney Monas translation of it) was so interesting and compelling that it was nearly always a real pleasure to be reading it.

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