Saturday, November 26, 2016

Short Cuts

A man and his fishing buddies refuse to let a dead body ruin their weekend expedition, the revelation leaving his wife not knowing how to respond; a baker harasses a couple remiss in picking up a cake for their son, not knowing that the boy was just involved in a serious car accident; a phone sex operator's line of work secretly frustrates her husband; a philandering cop's extracurricular activities only amuse his knowing wife while he attempts to rid himself of the yelping family dog and carries on with a miserable single mother being targeted by her jealous ex. These are just of few of the stories that comprise Robert Altman's ambitious intersecting LA set anthology drawn from a sampling of Raymond Carver's short stories. While not all the threads are woven into a satisfying patchwork, the ending feels somewhat cheap, and the changes to the Carver stories aren't always an improvement, it is such an impressive, observant assemblage featuring a sprawling, talented cast and the kind of picture that puts today's "interconnected/hyperlinked" movies to shame.
*** 1/2 out of ****