Director: Woody Allen

103 minutes| U.S.A.-Germany| 2001| Colour| Dolby Digital Mono| 35mm

A comic-book detective story set in the 1940s, in which a jade scorpion becomes Woody’s Maltese falcon. The scorpion is the means by which an insurance investigator (Allen) and his efficiency-expert boss whom he hates (Helen Hunt) are both hypnotised into committing robberies by a master magician (David Ogden Stiers). They are also hypnotised into falling in love, to their utter bemusement when conscious, whilst Charlize Theron pops up as an archetypal femme fatale on hand to get the hero out of a tight spot.

It’s a comic trifle, but it looks a treat, thanks to Zhao Fei’s superb photography; Woody is very funny when in a trance, sounding like a cross between Peter Lorre and Stan Laurel; and Helen Hunt is a revelation as a tough professional dame who can not only match but even surpass our hero in inventive invective.

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