Short Cuts - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Short Cuts Reviews

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May 8, 2013
Short Cuts is an influential and simple ensemble piece that great characterisations and a cool screenplay. The connection of the characters (who are all well acted from its talented ensemble cast) is thorough and interesting, and the scenes are funny and curiously directed.
May 7, 2013
I loved the first 2 hours, but I thought some strange character choices in the last hour kind of made it lose track. I love how it tied together in the end but still some of the stories just felt very unfinished, where others came to a complete end. Still a pretty great movie though.
½ May 5, 2013
This is a well made film by Robert Altman. The acting was uniformly good. The story involves 5 or 6 separate, contiguous story lines. The various characters sometimes intersect. The story was interesting and held my attention. But, none of the characters was anyone the audience could root for. These people were all pretty thoroughly messed up. So, as is often the case with movies like this; it was like watching a slow motion train wreck.

Although well made, this type of film is not favorite of mine.
½ April 25, 2013
complete nonsense, making noooo sense at all.. 9 boring lifes full of cheating, boring casual day stuff and so and on. 3hours lost
½ April 17, 2013
Once again I have seen another incredible and successfully made interconnecting film that joins the likes of Magnolia and Crash.
Great performances all around.
March 8, 2013
Altman's multistrand tale of American suburbia and its less-than-pleasant nature is quite an achievement: a boatload of quality acting from its sizeable cast, complimented by a constant vein of dark, cynical humour and its mix of moments that are by turns touching, unsettling and dramatic make this one of the late maestro's best, not to mention an easy recommend if you also enjoyed Pulp Fiction & Magnolia, which also offered sprawling tales of Western life.
February 27, 2013
good slice-of-life story that interweaves the experiences of an array of l.a. suburbanites. quite a few of big names in this flick.
February 14, 2013
There is an unseen, yet constantly mentioned, plague of the medfly that haunts 'Short Cuts', as if the Los Angeles of this film were a bright red slab of rotting meat and the insects had finally settled in for the feast. The shattered heart of the film's theatrical poster is the playing field and the shards are its stories - upsetting, sometimes horrifying little cameos of doubt and everyday tragedy amongst a vast cross-section of couples and families. Everything occurs in conjunction and cascade: The car brushing the little boy who spends the rest of the film in a coma while his parents hang in limbo and reduced to a total wreck, the boy's grandfather who shows up at the hospital to selfishly lament his life's mistakes to his son, the body of the dead girl floating in the water to interrupt the fishing trip, the helicopters spraying poison on the city, the family dog kidnapped and left behind, real or imagined infidelities of past and present constantly bubbling up to the surface or on the horizon, the phone sex operator working from home as she changes her baby's diaper, the pool cleaner husband who watches with muted disgust, the two couples dressed as clowns in the dawn unwilling to end a drunken party because they can't bear to be alone, smarmy men and shrewish women, the man decimating his ex-wife's furniture with a chainsaw, the hopeless alcoholic chanteuse vigorously ignoring her suicidal cellist daughter, the birthday cake that was never picked up and the abusive phone calls from the baker who made it, the couple who house-sit a neighbor's apartment and entertain there and make love in their bed, the sleazy cop who lives for his infidelities and only sometimes for his family - all of it circling around in a heady symphony of modern disconnection. The world on display here, in a film made by a 68 year old man, has finally reached a point where everything is so small and so petty, the population so huge, so scattered, that birthday cakes can cause sociopathic behavior and dead bodies are mere inconveniences. People yearn for different lives or identities and the film almost grants that wish, blurring everything together, but so clearly as to expertly point out all the distinctions. Men are seen as impatient and brutish, the women deceitful or alarmingly wild-tempered. Children are largely ignored or yelled at (except for the boy in the coma, who suddenly seems so precious and delicate). Life is a very busy, stressful affair in this film. And this is one of the rare American films that really does try to dissect what working class people's lives are like, and how certain domestic dramas play out in homes of different economic means. Madeleine Stowe hurriedly makes some slapped-together peanut butter sandwiches for the kids while breathlessly telling her sister on the phone that the dog ran away and that the kids are in a panic. Her sister, Julianne Moore, a painter and married to a surgeon, sits contentedly in her home, alone, with a jar of peanut butter in front of her which she dips a spoon into to enjoy all by herself. The smallest detail, the simplest comparison of the chasm that separates these women is made, and done so economically in Altman's style. The distinction rings hollow however, since both women's marriages are falling apart. The peanut butter is just a visual game, one of many in this heavily layered film. Visual, aural and thematic matches crop up everywhere in the film: women floating in water, fish in a brook echoed in a fish tank and a fish bowl, men laughing at a diner and a cut to a painting of smiling and laughing faces, a tight close up of a glass of milk and a cut to a television set tipping a glass of milk over in slow motion ("accidents happen every day") characters talking dirty on the phone, people saying things to someone else and there being zero connection.Everyone seems to be walking through the film either so exhausted by normal life or beaten down by their inner lives that they barely see what's in front of them. Perhaps the insectile motif expands to the characters themselves; nearly every being on view is mercilessly, almost viciously after their own agenda, unaware or uninterested in any possible way of how it is affecting the much larger picture we are so thoroughly given an omniscient, relentless view of. And if the notion of cause and effect ever does flicker in these people's minds, it's quickly dismissed with arguments, sex, drugs or (most ubiquitously important) alcohol. Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts' is a film I have trouble discussing objectively, I suppose. It was to me, ever since I first witnessed it, a work of absolute genius and courageous humanity, a great plea for deeper understanding and empathy. Its central themes - of life sometimes being all in your control, sometimes not at all, and the dangerous element of self-absorption that has seemingly taken over the American mindset - play out in scenes whose emotional palette shifts from despair to hilarity to madness to ultimately a recognition of overall human needs as a sort of free floating phenomenon, a thing we can't attain or ease our way through sometimes. Life sometimes only gives us one option. And then there is the requisite Altman nerve-breaker moment, when one can only collapse and laugh at the wild, wooly mess at hand, at the unified cacophony that life is. One does have to giggle and give in once the weight of the pain gets too heavy. In this film life just tumbles on, breaking down walls here, putting up walls there.
February 9, 2013
i get to see francas mcdormand and julianne moore naked in the same movie? avrage movie with extra credit for the scale. a little melodramatic. a big proponent of on of my film pet peves where the charictures say other charticures names every sentence. also zero explination for why the basist did what she did. Madeleine stowe is really hot also.
February 5, 2013
There's a few things to like in this movie, for instance the dialogue was really interesting and really compelling at times. Another thing that I liked was the performances the entire cast gave, there's a lot of big stars in this film and believe me they all play there roles really well. Okay, now that being said those are pretty much the only things that I liked in this movie, yes those things are very big things and if you do have a solid script and great acting you can still have a good movie on your hands, so I can say this movie is pretty good. Now, for the stuff I didn't like in this film! The first thing was the comedy, almost every joke in this film failed, maybe a couple of times I chuckled a bit, but other then that this movie wasn't that funny. Another thing I didn't like was the characters, almost every character in this movie is so unlikable. Yes, the actors play the characters really well, but the characters themselves are not very enjoyable to watch becuase of how unpleasent they are. I think, personally that's what made me dislike this movie a bit because of how unlikeable everybody is, yes like I said the script is solid and the acting is great and for those reasons alone I think people should see this movie. Just because I couldn't get into this film like others could, doesn't mean this film is bad, it just means it's not my kind of movie, but I'll still recommend it for others because I know many people will probably enjoy this film.
January 7, 2013
Una de las mejores peliculas de historias de personajes cruzadas que jamas he visto. Y es que solo un genio como Robert Altman era capaz de juntar un reparto COLOSAL Y hacer que todos parezcan grandiosos... Digna de ver, digna de recordar y con unas historias surrealistas pero cruelmente reales...
January 5, 2013
(January 2013) Occasionally warming, and occasionally, funny, but it's toooooo long. Probably innovative in the 90s, not as innovative as artsy people claim it to be, especially in 2010s.
½ December 28, 2012
I read the book before I saw this so I had a vague idea what this was like before watching it. Despite the length and a ton of characters to deal with it never becomes dull not just because the characters are fully developed but also because there are some interesting shots of Julianne Moore's anatomy.:P

If there's one thing that I loved particularly about this film it seemed to capture the fastness of LA life and the feeling that something big is about to happen any minute
½ December 24, 2012
Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance.
December 11, 2012
Brilliant! Tremendously acted! Devastating in its impact! A great film!
December 1, 2012
not sure. rave reviews though.
November 27, 2012
very old but very nice!
November 10, 2012
Generally, I like the idea of 3-hour dramas.
It's pretty easy to make a 3-hour epic or some monumental war flick but it needs some guts to stand up against the producers and fight your idea of people talking for three hours through.

Robert Altman did this numerous times. Short Cuts is one of his trademark films, which features a huge cast and a huge runtime.
I tend to like star-studded anthology pieces and although of Short Cuts' cast I only truly "love" Tom Waits and Robert Downey jr. I'm still impressed by the sheer amount of starpower.

Acting is pretty good indeed but my main point of criticism is the plot(s) anyways. Altman orchestrates nine more or less interrelated stories about matrimony and other relationships and a lot of problems that seem a bit artificial. In its structure you could compare it to P.T. Anderson's Magnolia - just that Magnolia is far superior.

As I wasn't fully convinced by the plot the film dragged along a bit. Merely any momentum builds, and so, we hardly get any suspenseful scenes and by jumping from one narration to the next all the time Short Cuts stays superficial for most of the time and it never gets really deep into any of the given relationships.

Not very suspenseful, not very dramatic but a runtime of three hours... You see the problem?

To further illustrate what I mean, I'd compare the film to a random three hour episode of a daily soap just with better production values and more skillfully made.
November 4, 2012
the movie was anything but short. clocking in at slightly more than three hours, the movie itself didn't quite do it for me though the cast did good in their roles; especially enjoyed watching julianne moore, downey jr. and lily tomlin.
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