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Search our database of more than 4,500 film reviews. We have been discovering spiritual meanings in movies for nearly four decades.

Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Kansas City
Directed by Robert Altman
New Line Home Video 08/96 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - language, some violence and drug use

Kansas City is another spunky film in a series of Robert Altman portraits of the failure of the American Dream.

In this well-conceived drama set in 1934, all the characters are desperate souls willing to do anything to survive in the Depression.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, in a cagey and convincing performance, plays Blondie, a tough little cookie who kidnaps Carolyn Stilton (Miranda Richardson), the socialite wife of a Democratic Party bigwig. She wants him to use his power to get back her husband Johnnie (Dermot Mulroney). He's being held by Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), a wheeler dealer who runs a jazz club where gamblers congregate. Johnnie robbed one of his clients and must pay the price.

Two sidebar plots follow the plight of a 14-year-old pregnant girl and the nefarious exploits of Johnny Flynn (Steve Buscemi) who uses bums to vote for the Democrats on election day. This highly atmospheric film is a flavorful Altmanesque cocktail with witty commentary on race, political corruption, class warfare, power plays, and jazz music.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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