Poster for Kansas City

Kansas City

1996, Drama, 1h 55m

41 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Aspiring thief Johnny (Dermot Mulroney) messes with the wrong man when he attempts to steal from Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), a Kansas City mob dynamo. Blondie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Johnny's wife, refuses to sit back and let Johnny be held captive, resulting in a scheme to abduct a prominent government official's wife (Miranda Richardson). Blondie's plan is to use the woman's political connections to free her husband, but it gets complicated when the two women form an unlikely bond.

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Critic Reviews for Kansas City

Audience Reviews for Kansas City

  • Nov 15, 2011
    I pefered this film then Altman's "Thieves Like Us" which was also set in the depression era of the 1930. "Kansas City" doesn't care so much on the plot but rather on the characters but I was particularly more interested in the jazz players, and a "Godfather" type played by Harry Belefonte. Altman seems to not want to use his usually skilled trademarks. There is seldom use of overlapping dialogue although there is a good sense of closeness between blacks and whites within Kansas City, Altman's authentic detail to the 1930's, and his great use of editing, cutting between the main characters, and the jazz players. One of the best scenes show two jazz artist going against one another and afterwods respecting each other's craft. Steve Buscemi's character reminds me of one of the characters in "Gangs Of New York" getting all the people to vote. This picture is not Altman's best film but I still enjoyed it thanks to a strong performance from Belefonte, and well, again the period and the music.
    Super Reviewer
  • May 09, 2011
    "Kansas City" is an extremely slight film in Robert Altman's filmography. I was surprised that Altman forgets the basic ingredients that are so important to making film noir work. The biggest sin "Kansas City" commits is that the film is never nasty. A good film noir should always make you feel uncomfortable. Altman understood this in "The Long Goodbye," but for some reason it's obviously absent from "Kansas City." Moreover, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Miranda Richardson are sorely miscast, making the pedestrian proceedings even more uninteresting. "Kansas City" could have been a great film if Altman had dared to take more interesting choices, something that effects all of his late 90s works. As it stands, this is just aggressively mediocre.
    Super Reviewer
  • Jan 27, 2010
    Robert Altman is one of those directors I will never understand. I have nothing against the man but the significance bestowed upon him by film scholars is beyond me. Sure, he made a lot of decent films, some of which are watchable, but on the whole they always come across as several plays staged on a massive scale with Altman sitting in the wings, pointing at things for the cameramen to shoot. Stylistic qualms aside, Kansas City is a turd, plain and simple. A good looking turd. A well premised turd, but savagely beaten into mind numbing nothingness by a total lack of direction. It seems like everyone involved is haphazardly wandering from scene to scene waiting for important plot points to materialize. The eternally pouty Jennifer Jason Leigh pouts her way through scene after pointless scene while the eternally sexy Miranda Richardson sits in the corner watching. Hey, look! It's Harry Belafonte talking to some guy throughout the entire movie about THE SAME THING, OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
    Brett W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 16, 2009
    boring, but interesting and decently made... also just my opinion but Jennifer Jason Leigh makes Dane Cook seem oscar worthy (seriously).
    Coxxie M Super Reviewer

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