A suicidally disillusioned liberal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.
American journalist John Reed journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant, then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed's ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright, and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines.Written by
Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton's romantic relationship began to deteriorate during the filming. Peter Biskind wrote about the production, "Beatty's relationship with Keaton barely survived the shoot. It is always a dicey proposition when an actress works with a star or director, both in this case, with whom she has an off-screen relationship. Keaton appeared in more scenes than any other actor, save Beatty, and many of them were difficult ones, where she had to assay a wide range of feelings, from romantic passion to anger, and deliver several lengthy, complex, emotional speeches." George Plimpton once observed, "Diane almost got broken. I thought Beatty was trying to break her into what Louise Bryant had been like with John Reed." Executive Producer Simon Relph adds, "It must have been a strain on their relationship, because he was completely obsessive, relentless." See more »
In the background of Reed's New York apartment, a modern streetlight is visible. See more »
Was that in 1913 or 17? I can't remember now. Uh, I'm, uh, beginning to forget all the people that I used to know, see?
Do I remember Louise Bryant? Why, of course, I couldn't forget her if I tried.
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As the credits roll, additional interviews with the 'witnesses' play. See more »
3 seconds of horse falls were cut from the British version. The DVD supplements showing these shots are also cut in England. See more »
"Voting is the opium of the masses in this country. Every four years you deaden the pain."
A personal triumph for co-writer-producer-director-star Warren Beatty, who won the Oscar for his direction and gives a cautious, interesting performance as early-1900s American journalist John Reed, who shared a tumultuous courtship and marriage to Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton), a socialite and self-described writer. Reed, a radical political activist, became intrigued with the Communist teachings of Russia and, with Bryant, defended the Bolsheviks and opposed American intervention. Their acquaintances, a community of activists and artists, included anarchist Emma Goldman (masterfully played by Oscar-winner Maureen Stapleton) and playwright Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson), who also had a passionate affair with Bryant (one "guest witness" speculates the Reed-Bryant marriage was actually a menage a trois that included O'Neill). Beatty's film is too long at 195 minutes--and is far better in its early stages, so momentum tends to decrease as the story progresses--however, its an actors' paradise and everyone brings something special to the fore. Keaton's chattering sometimes feels anachronistic ("yeah, yeah...uh-huh, uh-huh"), but she works the camera mercilessly with her big, enchanting smile (to knock us dead) and sad, questioning stare. Keaton manages to translate her innermost thoughts into expressions, and her penetrating scenes with Nicholson are quietly-charged and fascinating, although her romance with Beatty's Reed feels somewhat muffled. Beatty, content to let his co-stars shine, has chosen to remain reserved; some may applaud the performance as successfully subtle, yet he might have shown us a bit more of his own personality (it would help in a three-hour-plus movie such as this). The epic-sized "Reds" is a strange melodrama, at times, and an overachiever, but with surprising humor in the mix and the fire of determination at its core. **1/2 from ****
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