‘True artists create their own moral universe.’
Its universal misfortune that no truly great artist has ever been appreciated in his lifetime but what’s more misfortune for artist is getting all the laurels and appreciation which he doesn’t deserve. Here is a story of a struggling play writer who doesn’t find any producer for his artistic tragedy on first place and then he gets an Italian gangster to produce his drama to fulfill a promise to his horribly dumb talent girlfriend dreaming an acting career. Close contrast to her is an arrogant old Broadway actress still basking in her fading stage glory and a lieutenant suffering from gluttony to play lead parts. So how this poor writer turned debut director cutting on his artistic compromise would meddle with this irritatingly stupid actress to get his farce on stage along with his popping romantic affair with Broadway star?
Crime and art, both of these things remain passion and obsession for Woody Allen and he gave us some of the finest films of his career juxtaposing these two things together. With full marks to his brilliant screenplay co-written by Douglas Mcgrath and direction excluding his act, he brought a wonderful farcical comedy to poke fun at this art-crime nexus. Many at the times it questioned the status of an artist- “Do you love me as an artist or as a man?” is constantly asked question in the film. The most genuine fun and irony pointed another question here- Who’s the real artist? Is he the writer or that intruding goon cum bodyguard named Cheech who almost rewriting the acts to give the drama altogether different direction? Maybe true artist has to sacrifice his humanity for the sake of his passion for art. John Cusack played Woody’s alter ego so amusingly but I think it would have been better if Woody himself had played that part with his signature expressions. Dianne Wiest is irreplaceable and her act truly deserved Oscar for theatrical on and off stage affair. The rest of cast is just brilliant in their performances.
One of Woody’s best.