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Imperfect but interesting, complex early Altman
on August 11, 2010
This is a a film I'll definitely watch again. I have the feeling it could feel even stronger on repeated viewings. A character study of a schizophrenic from inside her subjective point of view, so the whole story is told by an unreliable narrator. Some fascinating moments, and good tense twists as we (and she) wonder what's real. The film isn't wildly stylized, so the line between hallucination and reality is truly, effectively blurry. On the other hand a lot of the style feels awkwardly dated, and some story elements feel manipulative and not easy to believe. For example, she's very obviously a potentially dangerously disturbed woman, but her husband seems to barely take that in. Even if he's the supercilious prig that Rene Abougenois plays him as, his complete ignoring of her state feels like a cheat. And some twists just feel like they were `a cool idea' at the time, but not rooted in deeper character or story elements. A little like Nic Roeg, but not at his very best. All that said, certainly a must see for any Altman fans - it's not quite like anything else he ever did - although '3 Women' could be seen in some ways as a more mature follow up.