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USA 1994
Directed by
Tom DiCillo
89 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Living In Oblivion

Tom DiCillo's follow-up to his quirky 1991 debut Johnny Suede is a clever little film that will appeal especially to film buffs.

Steve Buscemi plays an indie director, Nick Reve, who is trying to shoot his low budget film but everything is going wrong both in front of and behind the camera. His leading lady, Nicole (Catherine Keener) is having a crisis of confidence. She can’t abide her co-star (James LeGros) a dim-witted narcissist who keeps suggesting ideas for how to make the film better to Reve. His assistant director (Danielle Von Zerneck) is breaking up with his cinematographer (Dermot Mulroney, Keener's real-life husband) who is not taking it well and a dwarf (Peter Dinklage) hired for a Lynchean dream sequence refuses to co-operate. And that’s just for starters.

Set over the course of one day (with a 4A.M. start!) Living in Oblivion is divided into three sections each dedicated to the filming of a different scene. A cinematographer by trade (his best-known work is for Jim Jarmusch’s 1984 cult hit, Stranger Than Paradise DiCillo no doubt drew on first-hand experience for what is a consistently amusing litany of contretemps that has a good deal of wry affection for its subject and never plays just for laughs. Buscemi is rewarding as the long-suffering would-be auteur and Keener (who had been the female lead in Johnny Suede and whose break-out role would be Being John Malkovich in 1999) is captivating as his high-strung leading lady.




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