Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Indie Review: Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
These 'Bullets' Definitely Don't Shoot Blanks
Woody Allen is a director that I have become quite fond of in recent years. I have not only liked his direction, but especially his writing and how he writes such amazing roles for women. Bullets Over Broadway is not only my favorite of his thus far but is also his best directorial effort in my opinion of his I've seen thus far.
Bullets Over Broadway follows a playwright named David Shayne (John Cusack) who tries to find financing for his play. To do so, he agrees to hire Olive (Jennifer Tilly), a girlfriend of a gangster. The problem is, however, Olive is a terrible actress. Plus, the play's leading man is a binge eater, Olive's hitman Cheech (Chazz Palminteri) turns out to be a writing genius and David begins to take credit for his work as Cheech helps him write the play, and he is caught up in an affair with the scheming alcoholic leading lady Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest).
What I Liked About It:
First off, I thought the actors were an absolute riot. John Cusack was just perfect for a film like this. In my opinion, he is the quintessential Woody Allen actor as he really fits Allen's rather neurotic sense of humor. Jennifer Tilly just had me in stitches as she is a good actress that plays a terrible actress. Dianne Wiest also stole the show as Helen Sinclair, who is like a stage version of Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard as she tries to rejuvenate her former glory, and Wiest more than deserved her Best Supporting Actress Oscar just like how Tilly more than deserved her nomination. Chazz Palminteri deserved his nomination for Best Supporting Actor as he brilliantly portrays a hitman who turns out to be a literary genius.
One thing that I thought was interesting about the film was how Allen touches upon the themes of egos clashing on the set as well as writers taking credit for other people's work. Those two themes i'm sure are still relevant today. Speaking of Allen, I liked the way he directed the film and not just wrote the fascinating and rather satirical story. There were a few scenes where he uses long takes and I thought that was very neat.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Bullets Over Broadway is a sharply funny and satirical film that is in my opinion, Woody Allen's best of his work that I've seen thus far. It's well-acted, has a brilliant story and amazing direction. Whether you are a fan of Woody Allen as an artist or not, I would say give this a watch. You might be in for as much of a surprise as I was.