Living in Oblivion Movie Review

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Living in Oblivion? You don't know the half of it.

Tom DiCillo wrote and directed this new low-budget story of making a film-within-a-film, and it comes off superbly better than most of its predecessor "movies about movies." DiCillo has assembled the most perfectly matched cast I've come across in ages, featuring Steve Buscemi as Nick, a film director for whom nothing will work out, Catherine Keener as a much too sensitive leading lady, Dermot Mulroney as a leather-clad cinematographer, and James LeGros as an unbelievably shallow leading man--possibly his best role ever.

With the help of a misfit/wannabe crew, Nick leads us through one "nightmare" after another, where the problems of shooting a few simple scenes are never-ending but, fortunately for our benefit, are hilarious. While it may help to know something about the way a film is made before you go in, Living in Oblivion will, at least, leave you with a better understanding of the travails of film production, and, at most, leave you in stitches.

While Living in Oblivion is more of a "fun" picture than a "deep" one, it's an awfully enjoyable way to spend 91 minutes. The film's problems are mostly cosmetic (a crummy soundtrack and a sometimes slow third act), and the movie is a great success. DiCillo's direction is perfect, and needs to be seen on the big screen to be truly appreciated. The comic touches he adds to what would otherwise be some ordinary scenes are also worthwhile.

It ain't Schindler's List, and it's not supposed to be. But DiCillo gets done the job he set out to do: to send us home with a smile and to hope for an equally good follow-up film.

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Living in Oblivion Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1995

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