Ethan Colburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Movies, Now More Than Ever!
This honestly might be my favorite fictional slogan. If I were to rename my podcast, it would probably be that.
Altman hates Hollywood and that’s never been clearer. He weaves this story together so well and makes you despise but root for your protagonist. And Tim Robbins plays the character perfectly. I would put this ahead of Shawshank as my favorite performance of his.
The cameos add a while additional layer to this film. They’re quite fun to spot but they serve a purpose, in giving you a sense of glamor that Tim Robbins is leading. (My absolute favorite is Buck Henry pitching The Graduate 2!)
Never has a happy ending been so cynical. I love it so much.
It’s also the place where this film splits from the Noirs of the past it’s referencing. In Classic Hollywood, the perpetrator would have to pay for his crime in one way or another. The fact Altman gives a Noir a happy ending is not only a commentary on studio meddling but also the amoral nature of the Hollywood system, and a big FU to all producers. It feels so wrong, yet so right.
I’m also a sucker for the character writing the movie you’re watching. Adaptation, Lord of the Rings, there’s got to be a list out there.
Altman, now more than ever!