There are plenty of words that can be used to describe the 90’s decade of cinema – teen, science fiction, blockbuster and so forth – but none more so relevant than the word ‘cool’. L.A. Confidential, The Matrix, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty all being exponents of such a tag’. Money, dark shades and gangsters defined the nineties, and Get Shorty has the whole bunch.
John Travolta, Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito star in the nineties classic crime comedy caper based on a novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard. Travolta plays Chilli Palmer, a loan shark who pitches a movie idea to producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) but there isn’t any money left to fund the movie. Cue the fun. The plot is a little over complicated due to there being so many actors who have a decent amount of screen time, but Travolta’s always at the centre of things, keeping the feature together.
The film could easily have been directed by Quentin Tarantino and has often been compared to Tarantino’s own Jackie Brown due to its plot concerning an object everyone wants a piece of, but Barry Sonnenfeld deserves the credit here. His career may have unexpectedly dipped since (with films such as Men in Black II and Wild Wild West have created black marks on his directing CV) but don’t let those put you off watching Get Shorty.
Travolta and Hackman are both on top form here, with decent supporting roles from DeVito and Rene Russo, but it is Travolta’s film. Where he may have been overshadowed by Samuel L. Jackson the previous year in Pulp Fiction, he takes centre stage with Get Shorty.
Best scene: The first meeting between Chilli and Zimm in Zimm’s living room.
Best performance: John Travolta.