David Hugh Jones
Anthony Hopkins, Kyle MacLachlan & Jason Robards
The film starts with the arrest of what we would call a Senior Vice President of a large bank, but it is set in Prague before the turn of the century so he is call a chief clerk (pronounced "clark" in true British fashion) of the bank. The clerk is played excellently by Kyle MacLachlan. Although arrested, he is free to go and is never told the charges.
The clerk is arrogant and tells everyone how ridiculous this all is. But in a world of non-Euclidean geometry, everything that seems right isn't. Slowly the clerk begins to realizes the trouble he is in. When he goes to the court he sees long lines of people who are accused. No one actually goes on trial. Everyone waits.
Finally, he gets the court painter to explain to him that he has only three chances: actual acquittal, ostensible acquittal, and perpetual postponement. The first has never happened, the second has the side effect that you can always be brought up again for the same charge, and the last means you must spend all of your waking hours making sure that you case never advances. From there, his plight gets worse.