Cookie's Fortune; Tragicomedy, USA, 1999; D: Robert Altman, S: Liv Tyler, Charles S. Dutton, Ned Beatty, Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, Chris O'Donnell, Patricia Neal
The inhabitants of the small city Holly Springs live peacefully and are preparing themselves for the theater play of Salome. But during Easter the beloved old Cookie suddenly becomes sad from thinking about her dead husband and thus commits suicide with a gun. When her corpse is found by her niece Camille and Cora they react immidetaly - they break the window, hide the gun and report the accident as a murder as not to embarras their honor. But the guilt falls on Cookie's best friend Willis which angers Emma, Cora's daughter. Still, Camilla's blood gets found on the floor and thus she lands in prison, while it is discovered that Willis is actually a family member of Cookie and thus inherits a fortune.
"Cookie's Fortune" is another routine film from understated, objective and neutral master Robert Altman, which appear in between his phases of inspiration, but it has a sneaky, deeply satirical story about people who disguise an accident as a crime in order to promote their agenda, in this case when an old lady, Cookie, commits suicide and her egocentric niece Camilla decides to mask it as murder in order to "avoid the embarassment", which has dreadful consequences when innocent people have to pay for something they never did. The intruiging premise is here handled rather arbitarly, and Altman directed it rather indifirently and drowsy, hence it is surprising why some critics praised it so much who seem to see extraodrinary in the ordinary. The only great scene is the one with the tame, innocent prisoner in the "open prison" while the rest is watered down and mild, whereas some charachters are very thin and sparse.Grade:++