Originally a set of nine short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver, Altman adapted them into a screenplay. Substituting Los Angeles for the Pacific Northwest backdrop of Carver's stories, the film traces the actions of 22 principal characters, both in parallel and at occasional loose points of connection. As an ambitious homage to an influence and combination of two American creators shines.
Certainement à ce jour, un des films les plus aboutis de Robert Altman, qui maîtrise avec brio ces destins parallèles, avec une virtuosité à vous couper le souffle, à travers un montage lumineux, limpide, frisant la perfection et qui restera pour longtemps encore une puissante et magistrale leçon de cinéma... www.cinefiches.com
The tenderest scene: Stormy Weathers cutting up furniture while the carpet man shampoos the rug. This is exactly what I want out of romance: two people coexisting, each in his own world. Even when their projects are intrinsically contradictory, the non-reflexive proximity holds strong.
This film understands life. Did you even think about the medfly disaster after an hour? There's always something like that, but everyday life issues take over, always. The humor and absurdity further confirm comprehension of the nature of life, and especially the role of love and its difficulties. It has a wonderful, jazzy style, with deliberate overacting at times and much camera movement. And that beautiful intro!
At the risk of heresy, I don't think this is top-shelf Altman. The cast is an amazing who's-who of everyone in indie films circa 1990, and there's a certain pleasure to the way the plot diffuses, with loose ends splayed in all directions. But it's also stretched thin and uneven, with its characters feeling less like complete people than like actors showing off their chops.
I was a teenager when Short Cuts came out, and it was one of my very favorite movies of all time. Like much 90s ephemera one could argue without much difficulty that it has failed to age terribly well. The radical (at the time) investment in narrative interconnectivity now appears to me to stretch credulity (these lives are just a little too cozily interconnected), and too many setpieces degenerate into theater.
It might be impossible to know after so many similar films what would the impact of watching this film in 1993 before all the others would have been, still there are many stories and it seems to me the characters are more interesting than the stories themselves and the device of the medfly and the dead woman look to me more interesting than the weaving of stories. The best - obviously - The Planeteers!!! Go Planet!!!