Doing for Los Angeles what he did for Nashville, Robert Altman rediscovers the sprawling, evocative, patchwork magnificence of his previous mid-1970s peak in this loose compendium of tales largely based on the short stories of Raymond Carver.
Seemingly disparate, as these tales of marital discord, familial disconnect and existential doubt unfold in languid, offbeat style, they intertwine.
Carver’s stories were set in the Pacific Midwest, but take on new symbolism against LA’s cloudless blue skies and swimming pools, an idyll symbolically tainted by helicopters spraying insecticide and the constant threat of a geological event.
An impeccable ensemble cast including Tom Waits, Tim Robbins, Chris Penn, Jack Lemmon, Andie MacDowell, Lily Tomlin and Julianne Moore give authentic life to incidental players in an ongoing melodrama that speaks loudly of the modern malaise.
Profound, involving and blackly funny in places, such as when Anne Archer’s party clown is stopped by a traffic cop (pictured below).
Dr Ralph Wyman
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Robert Downey Jr