Short Cuts

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"Short Cuts raises the roof on America."
  • R
  • 1993
  • 3 hr 7 min
  • 7.7  (46,794)
  • 81

Short Cuts is a dramatic movie from 1993, directed by Robert Altman, who is known for his complex and innovative storytelling techniques. The movie is based on a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver, which Altman adapted and brought to life on the big screen. The movie is set in Los Angeles and follows the lives of a large group of interconnected characters who are struggling to cope with the challenges and complexities of modern life. The main characters include Ann Finnigan (played by Andie MacDowell), a housewife who is unhappy in her marriage and desperately seeking a way out; Marian Wyman (played by Julianne Moore), an artist who is having an affair with her own husband and is haunted by the memory of her own daughter's death; and Tim Robbins, who plays Gene Shepard, a smug and self-centered musician who is forced to confront his own demons when his son is injured in a car accident.

The movie is structured as a series of vignettes that are loosely connected by the characters and themes they explore. The stories are often told simultaneously, with events happening in one story influencing events in another. This creates a sense of interconnectedness that reflects the chaos and unpredictability of modern life.

Throughout the movie, the characters are portrayed in a way that is both honest and unsentimental. Altman's signature style of naturalistic dialogue and observational camerawork creates a sense of intimacy and realism that allows the audience to feel as though they are witnessing real life events. The result is a compelling and thought-provoking examination of the human condition that is both poignant and heartbreaking.

One of the recurring themes of the movie is communication, or the lack thereof. Many of the characters are unable to communicate effectively with one another, resulting in misunderstandings, miscommunications, and even tragedy. This is highlighted in one of the movie's most memorable scenes, in which a group of women gather for a lunchtime gossip session that quickly devolves into a series of petty squabbles and hurt feelings.

Another theme that the movie explores is the human capacity for cruelty and violence. Many of the characters are shown exhibiting behavior that is callous, selfish, and sometimes downright malicious. This is most clearly demonstrated in the character of Stuart Kane (played by Fred Ward), a police officer who becomes consumed by his obsession with tracking down a hit-and-run driver, even as his own life unravels around him.

Despite its heavy subject matter, the movie also has moments of levity and humor. This is perhaps best exemplified by the character of Howard Finnigan (played by Bruce Davison), a hapless cuckold who spends most of the movie in a state of befuddled confusion as his wife prepares to leave him. His scenes are a welcome relief from the more intense parts of the movie, and provide a much-needed dose of comic relief.

In conclusion, Short Cuts is a powerful and insightful exploration of the human condition. Its complex storytelling style and unflinching examination of the dark side of human nature make it a challenging but rewarding viewing experience. The outstanding performances by its ensemble cast, as well as Altman's visionary direction, make it an enduring classic of American cinema.

Short Cuts
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    3 hr 7 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (46,794)
  • Metascore