Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1992. Avenue Pictures, Spelling Entertainment, Addis Wechsler Pictures. Screenplay by Michael Tolkin, based on his novel. Cinematography by Jean Lepine. Produced by David Brown, Michael Tolkin, Nick Wechsler. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Stephen Altman. Costume Design by Alexander Julian. Film Editing by Maysie Hoy, Geraldine Peroni. Academy Awards 1992. Cannes Film Festival 1992. Golden Globe Awards 1992. Independent Spirit Awards 1992.
Robert Altman’s most popular film in years pokes extremely good fun at the immoral nature of moviemaking. Tim Robbins is brilliant as a soulless studio executive who, between rounds of turning down script pitches from oddball writers, is being harassed by violently-worded messages being sent to him by a scribe whose career he apparently ruined. He tries to seek the culprit out, and in doing so takes us into the labyrinthine world of Hollywood, where movie stars lurk around every corner (the number of celebrity cameos is enormous) and life truly imitates art. Greta Scacchi is excellent as his ice queen lover, while Whoopi Goldberg is hilarious as a police inspector who suspects Robbins of a heinous crime. Michael Tolkin has adapted his novel to the screen with plenty of wit, humour and intelligence, though the movie will have too negative a tone for some.