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Overall Rating
3.5

Awesome34.48%
Worth A Look: 13.79%
Average: 29.31%
Pretty Bad: 12.07%
Total Crap: 10.34%

6 reviews, 22 user ratings



Cradle Will Rock, The
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by EricDSnider

"Sure, the show must go on. But for so long?"
3 stars

Tim Robbins is a man passionate about his work, both in front of the camera and behind. He has a way of engaging the audience in his cause, rallying them behind him no matter what the subject.

Usually, that is. Unfortunately, his large-scale re-creation of a little-known event in theater history has some sterling performances and tells an interesting story, but ultimately is too confusing and emotionally ineffective. Robbins's passion is still there; there's just too much going on for us to march in line behind him.

It's 1936, and the Works Progress Administration is keeping theaters in business during the Great Depression. There's a great deal of wariness over communist content in the plays, though, particularly a pro-union piece called "The Cradle Will Rock," written by a down-and-out playwright (Hank Azaria). Before it can be performed, the theater is shut down by the military, forcing its cast and crew to go elsewhere in search of a place to do their show.

There are too many characters and subplots in the film, leading one to think it's building up to something great ... but then it never gets there. The performance of "The Cradle Will Rock" seems to be a major event for the characters, but the audience remains unattached.

Great performances are delivered by Vanessa Redgrave as a wealthy theater supporter; Bill Murray as an alcoholic former vaudevillian; John Cusack as Nelson Rockefeller; several others, also, too numerous to mention. The film has humor but mostly maintains a tone of urgency, a call to fight against injustice. Big-time theater buffs may find the historical aspect interesting, as it examines issues of censorship and responsibility in art. But most people will find it too long, too ambitious and too unfulfilling in the end.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1355&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/08/05 16:58:04
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User Comments

2/23/11 Paco Red bastards are great! 1 stars
8/16/10 Fgplex "Strange muses"? That was Brecht! Do you use Internets? 5 stars
7/08/10 brian Written & directed by Tim Robbins, who desperately needed someone to pare down his vision. 3 stars
10/24/03 laurabetty a bit confusing at times, but enjoyable 3 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby A collage of too many subplots and not enough cohesion to any of them. 1 stars
2/12/03 Gerardo Raschcovsky A movie to be seen now, days before a new war 5 stars
5/27/02 PeterGibbons Who is this Vidmar fuck? Go get in line for StarWhores III, you blob. Talk about krunk! 4 stars
5/03/01 BrainPan Very enjoyable. And any movie with Tenacious D is instantly credible. 4 stars
7/25/00 Monday Morning Overblown, incoherent, amazingly annoying. Waste of time and money. 1 stars
1/29/00 Ami the Wonderbread AHHHH. For anyone who loves theatre and the 30's, this rocks. 5 stars
1/24/00 Cibeus It wasn't entertaining, and it wasn't clear enough to be educational. Nice cast, well shot. 3 stars
1/21/00 H'woog bigshot Horrible beyond belief. Please Robbins, go away forever 1 stars
1/15/00 Kevin Cho FANTASTIC Cast! But Tim Burton has to work on flaws and approaching controversy. 3 stars
1/13/00 casey absolutely terrific 5 stars
1/06/00 Allen Konigsberg Best Sign Armageddon should have come at Y2K: Robbins still gets gigs. 1 stars
1/01/00 Raymondo Intricate fascinating tapestry, but Robbins and cast made it look easy. 5 stars
1/01/00 jenn "Blu Smrf" amazing film! art for the big screen, one of the best movies of the year! 5 stars
12/31/99 Malbert Some good parts...Redgrave&Azaria&Turturro were great! what happened to cary elwes??? 3 stars
12/19/99 Thomas Pompous and painfully self-congratulatory. 1 stars
12/19/99 Mr Showbiz Consistently tops itself with marvellous ensemble acting and surprising character reveals. 5 stars
12/11/99 Jon Burdick Big effort...has flaws, but so did Hamlet. 5 stars
12/10/99 JM Incoherent screwup of a fascinating story 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Tim Robbins

Written by
  Tim Robbins

Cast
  Bill Murray
  John Turturro
  Vanessa Redgrave
  Susan Sarandon
  Emily Watson



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