Coincidenceville would have been a better title for Shrink, the film in which psychiatrist Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey) and a handful of Los Angelinos crisscross past credulity but for the convenience of showing our interrelatedness. Director Jonas Pate quotes a Norman Mailer line about people who “shrink from the purpose we’re here for” but, clearly, the film’s true muse is Robert Altman and his modern, civil epic as perfected in Nashville, Short Cuts, Kansas City, et al.
Altman’s inspiration also accounts for the film’s narrative integrity. It’s really about the responsibilities that movie culture has abrogated as evident in Carter’s observation of the gaps and betrayals between people. Subplots about a high school girl (Keke Palmer), a screenwriter (Mark Webber), an actress (Saffron Burrows), a musician (Jack Huston) and an agent (Dallas Roberts) variously describe grief and cries for help. “Love is work,” Carter reasons; he recklessly pursues happiness despite his own personal incapacity.
Pate’s sincerity is equal to Spacey’s, whose performance is frequently moving—as is the Webber-Palmer duet, which recalls Half Nelson without the sanctimony. However, Pate overloads his good intentions; there’s more mood than structure, more sentiment than credible quotidian content.
Hollywood self-critiques are always in order and this one also recalls Wim Wenders’ The End of Violence and Wayne Kramer’s recent Crossing Over. Problem is, Altman did this brotherhood stuff best; but, more importantly, he did it less obviously.
Directed by Jonas Pate
Runtime: 110 min.
Trackback from your site.