Shrewd Hollywood exec Griffin Mill (Robbins) is already paranoid that a rival may join the studio; but what of the anonymous postcards he's getting from a scriptwriter whose pitch he hasn't followed up? Rattled by the death threats, he decides (wrongly) that the likely sender is David Kahane (D'Onofrio). But when Kahane is found dead after a meeting with Mill and it becomes known that Mill is dating the writer's ungrieving lover (Scacchi), his troubles multiply... Altman turns Michael Tolkin's thriller into the most honest, hilarious Hollywood satire ever, even persuading some 60 celebs to play themselves. Besides the superb performances, photography, music and seamless blend of comedy and tension, what's finally so special about the film is its form. Altman refines his open, 'democratic' style of the '70s, to show an untidy world from numerous shifting perspectives, yet the film is far from chaotic. With its many movie references and film-within-a-film structure, it's forever owning up to the fact that it's only a movie. Only? Were more films as complex and revealing about people, society and the way we watch and think about films, today's Hollywood product would be far more interesting than it is.
Cast and crew
Richard E Grant