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USA 1993
Directed by
Robert Altman
189 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Short Cuts

Scripted by Robert Altman and Frank Barhydt and based on nine short stories and one poem by Raymond Carver, the director’s sometimes over-worked signature style, first exemplified in Nashville (1975), is best vindicated in this engagingly credible account of the interweaving lives of twenty-two ordinary L.A. citizens. These are portrayed by a tremendous cast including Andie MacDowell, Darryl Hannah, Jack Lemmon, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits and Frances McDormand.

The composition tends to fall over in the last 30 minutes (in part because we have already been paying attention for two and  an a half hours by now) with too many plot twists and gratuitous developments, perhaps from studio pressure to tie up the loose ends, although the episodic structure means that in reality the story could never, or need never, arrive at closure.




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