Short Cuts

Short Cuts (1993)
★★★★ / ★★★★

This three-hour film is more personal than epic. Directed by Robert Altman, this mosaic of people who are living in Los Angeles is truly one of the best pictures of the 1990’s. I’ve seen a lot of movies that try to connect disparate characters which involve multiple storylines but this is the finest example of that kind of subgenre. What I love about it is that it doesn’t try to forcefully connect the characters; each transition and twist of fate happens in an organic way to the point where I can actually picture it happening in real life. I also liked the fact that it doesn’t try to tell a story about how one person changes for the better after going through a hardship. Instead, the film’s aim is to simply show who these characters are and how they respond to certain challenges that come knocking on their doors. I was involved in each storyline but the three that stood out for me was the bit about Andie MacDowell and Bruce Davison’s son, Julianne Moore and Matthew Modine’s slowly crumbling marriage, and Jennifer Jason Leigh and Chris Penn’s unexpressed frustrations. Other stories that focus on Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Annie Ross are interesting as well but those are more the peripheral storylines that serve to support the picture’s bigger themes. Despite it’s three-hour running time, I wanted to know more about these quirky characters. Even though their lives are painfully normal, enough strangeness happen to such lives that makes them completely believable. If one is a fan of movies involving intersecting lives, this is definitely the one to watch. I was expecting this film to be like “Paris, je t’aime” in order to prepare for the release of “New York, I Love You” (which I’m beyond excited for) but I got something so much more astute and rewarding.

6 replies »

  1. Thanks for reminding me that I really need to rewatch this one. I’ve only seen it once, and that was about ten years ago. While I certainly came away impressed, I’m hoping I’ve become a better viewer over the years, and that I would discover new things about it today. Still, I remember clearly how the slow-building suspense of this very human movie gradually crept upon me. At his best, Altman is a master when it comes to highlight the dramatic in the seemingly prosaic. Great review.

  2. Thanks. I wish movies that focus on intersecting lives wouldn’t try so hard like this one. Everything flows together without having some kind of gimmicky twist. I think that’s a sign of great writing.

  3. “Magnolia” was an excruciating experience. For a three hour film, I feel like it should’ve been more moving. I found Tom Cruise’ storyline as forced instead of poignant as it was trying to be. I did, however, enjoy Julianne Moore’s storyline. And lest I forget Aimee Mann’s amazing contribution to the soundtrack.

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