Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Short Cuts; drama, USA, 1993; D: Robert Altman, S: Tim Robbins, Madeleine Stowe, Frances McDormand, Andie MacDowell, Fred Ward, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Julianne Moore, Lily Tomlin, Matthew Modine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Waits, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Jane Alden
Numerous stories around the Los Angeles area: the 8-year old boy Casey is preparing himself for a birthday party. But on his way to the school, he is accidentally hit by a car driven by the waitress Doreen. He returns home where his parents, Annie and Howard, take him to a hospital where he dies...Doreen doesn't have a clue about that and has her own problems, with Earl, who leaves her but then returns back...Police officer Gene cheats on his wife with whom he has three children with. His dog is annoying him, so he leaves him on the middle of the road, but changes his mind and returns him home...A young mother excites men with phone sex in order to feed her poor family...Casey's doctor discovers his wife cheated on him, but decides to continue their relationship...The daughter of a singer commits suicide...an earthquake hits the town.
"Short Cuts" is an wildly ambitious film, a critically acclaimed and quality made anthology drama consisting of numerous episodes which are slightly colloid, but it became very influential and inspired numerous similar films, like "Magnolia" and "21 Grams". For the application of the film, the old master Robert Altman gathered a whole bunch of stars, all of which did a very good job, and some episodes are excellent, but some are pointless and seem as if they fell off some soap opera. Probably the most famous scene is the one where Peter Gallagher's character takes a chainsaw and goes on to slice the house of his wife in half, and some and daring like the one where a young mother excites men on phone sex while at the same time changing the diapers of her baby or when some men are fishing in a lake with a corpse in it. Julianne Moore even has a gutsy scene where she argues with her husband while totally naked down bellow. Especially good and surreal is the earthquake at the end that almost seems as if it's a supernatural message implying how all those people are preoccupied with their trivial problems while the real world is outside and somehow eludes them. All in all, it's a good film, but the dreadfully overlong 3 hours of running time make it seem overstretched, anecdotal, ephemera and not as powerful as the authors originally wanted it to be.