Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1998. Shooting Gallery, Rain Film. Screenplay by Amos Poe. Cinematography by Enrique Chediak. Produced by Phyllis Freed Kaufman. Music by Lazy Boy, Stephen Ulrich. Production Design by Michael Shaw. Costume Design by Candice Donnelly. Film Editing by Jeff Kushner.
Strange yet enjoyable film about a group of New York theatre actors who supplement their virtually non-existent artistic income by collecting money for a loan shark. Barbara Hershey plays a member of the troupe who is looking to get out of her illegal sideline, but is convinced by her boss (Robbie Coltrane), who is also her ex-husband, to do one last big job before retiring. The troupe is getting ready to perform Mamet’s American Buffalo and the fight for who gets the top roles is almost as dangerous as trying to get money out of unwilling debtors. What’s hilariously charming about this film is that in between scenes of catty actors and underworld intrigue, the odd monologue from an old film or play is thrown at you from unlikely sources: Lisa Marie is the most memorable for her delivery of Harry Lime’s “Cuckoo Clock” speech from The Third Man, though Hershey’s own opening with Shirley MacLaine’s monologue from The Apartment is exceptional as well. The film has limited appeal, but the performances are worth cherishing.