"Nashville" is my second Altman film, after seeing the beautiful and ethereal "3 Women" several times. There's so much to see here that watching doesn't feel like three hours. Like listening to a country music compilation, though, it's so hit-and-miss. Why does the director sing around his subject and never commit to what his sociopolitical intentions are? Less talk and more action. Oh, and more Lily Tomlin.
To be honest (and why wouldn't I be honest?) Nashville would probably get three stars if it wasn't for the music. Some fun scenes, but I get the feeling Altman doesn't like the characters a lot. But with the music and all...in the end it's enjoyable, but not Altman's masterpiece.
Although I consider The Long Goodbye to be Altman's greatest film, Nashville runs a close second. This is not only a time capsule of 1970s America but it is also the greatest ensemble film ever made. Altman worked best with a lot of people and the ending is one of the most powerful ever committed to film.
I don’t even like country music, but something about this film, which is very much steeped in country and the surrounding culture, had me almost immediately and kept me transfixed and awe inspired right up until the final, beautiful, climactic performance. This is one of those movies you see where you don’t necessarily know why it had such a big impact on you, but you immediately recognize as a masterpiece.