Robert Altman is an extremely divisive director in the sense that you either "get it" or you don't--and those who don't despise his work and take considerable pleasure in sneering at NASHVILLE in particular. But there is no way around the fact that it is an important film, a highly influential film, to most Altman fans his finest films, and to most series critics quite possibly the single finest film made during the whole of the 1970s.
According to the movie trailer available on the DVD release, NASHVILLE is "the damnedest thing you ever saw"--and a truer thing was never said, for it is one of those rare film that completely defies description. On one level, the film follows the lives of some twenty characters over the course of several days leading up to a political rally, lives that collide or don't collide, that have moments of success and failure, and which in the process explore the hypocrisy that we try to sweep away under the rug of American culture. If it were merely that, the film would be so much soap-opera, but it goes quite a bit further: it juxtaposes its observations with images of American patriotism and politics at their most vulgar, and in the process it makes an incredibly funny, incredibly sad, and remarkably savage statement on the superficial values that plague our society.
What most viewers find difficult about NASHVILLE--and about many Altman films--is his refusal to direct our attention within any single scene. Conversations and plot directions overlap with each other, and so much goes on in every scene that you are constantly forced to decide what you will pay attention to and what you will ignore. The result is a film that goes in a hundred different directions with a thousand different meanings, and it would be safe to say that every person who sees it will see a different film.
In the end, however, all these roads lead to Rome, or in this case to the Roman coliseum of American politics, where fame is gained or lost in the wake of violence, where the strong consume the weak without any real personal malice, and where the current political star is only as good as press agent's presentation. For those willing and able to dive into the complex web of life it presents, Altman's masterpiece will be an endlessly fascinating mirror in which we see the energy of life itself scattered, gathered, and reflected back to us. A masterpiece that bears repeated viewings much in the same way that a great novel bears repeated readings. A personal favorite and highly, highly recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Comedy / Drama / Music
Comedy / Drama / Music
Five days in the Nashville country and gospel music scene, filled with stars, wannabe stars, and other hangers-on - individual stories of this small group intertwined - provides a commentary on American society. The stars include: good ol' boy Haven Hamilton, whose patriotic songs leading up to the American bicentennial belie his controlling and ruthless nature; Barbara Jean, the country music darling who is just returning to Nashville and performing following recovery from a fire-related injury which may have taken more of an emotional toll than a physical one; and good looking and charismatic Tom Frank, one-third of the successful group Bill, Mary, and Tom, he who is trying to go solo, which masks his need to not be solo in his personal life as he emotionally abuses woman after woman in love with him, including Mary who is married to Bill. The wannabe stars include: Albuquerque, whose real name is Winifred, who is trying to run away from her husband Star in he not approving of her ...
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