Short Cuts (1993)

A 3 hour and 9 minute film, that still needed more.

Robert Altman’s mosaic masterpiece, based on Raymond Carver’s short stories, presents several different characters — including a baker, a chauffeur, a helicopter pilot, a phone-sex provider, a pool cleaner and a jazz singer — whose stale lives intersect and are forever altered through simple twists of fate. This moving tale’s all-star cast includes Tim Robbins, Madeleine Stowe, Bruce Davison, Andie MacDowell, Jack Lemmon and Anne Archer.

The movie traces the actions of twenty-two principal characters, both in parallel and at occasional loose points of connection. The role of chance and luck is central to the film, and many of the stories concern death and infidelity.

Much of the stories are told about people who just have very strange but overall upsetting lives, and barely get through it day to day. A lot of these stories blend a great deal of humor and mix it with the depressing tone, but keep you interested due to this sharp skills.

Most of the credit of this film has to go to the amazing director Robert Altman, who really does show he can make some great film’s. He takes this three hour long story and still make it fresh and barely ever drag on. Altman really does have a love for many of these stories, and a lot of these strange characters and that comes out from his very impressive direction. He goes through each story like a 3 hour soap opera but never misses a beat in combining some strange moments and add a little flavor of realism.

As great as this film can be it did have a lot of problems that could’ve saved this film. With so many stories and a very long run time like this, you would think this movie would be a central message for some sort of idea. No, and if there was I didn’t catch it. I found the film’s stories to be powerful and mostly engaging but by the end of the film we don’t really see much resolved, and we don’t see what the main purpose of this film was, other than just a bunch of stories that end suddenly.

Many stories in this film are actually more interesting than others, and although I stated before didn’t drag too much, the less interesting ones were given the most attention. I think that Altman goes from one story to another but not a very notable way, because sometimes the stories are barely or at all connected.

The huge ensemble-cast is just simply amazing. There are a lot of big names in this film that show up, but actually do add something to this film, that is deserved. I can’t name notable one other than two that stand out in my mind. Tim Robbins plays a cop in this film an creates one of the most hated, self-conscience characters I have ever seen on film, and creates a perfect character. Also Julianne Moore has some good scenes although she is barely on and by the end of the film you soon start to know that she is destined for greatness.

Consensus: Some stories are more interesting than others, Short Cuts features some impressive directing, amazingly-acted ensemble, and some great stories to be told. The only problem is that an engaging film needs to have an engaging message, which this does not have.


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