Living In Oblivion Review

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A film director struggles to get his movie made, dealiong with a difficult star and budget restrictions.


Director Tom DiCillo knows the world of low-budget, auteurism like the back of his clapperboard. His first film, Johnny Suede, received rave reviews and helped make Brad Pitt a star. Since then, however, the director has seen project after project crash on the rocks of Hollywood indifference. The result is Living In Oblivion: simultaneously a howl of rage against the restrictions of low-budget movie-making and a celebration of how, sometimes, things actually get done.

Split into three parts, the movie follows a luckless independent director (Buscemi) as he attempts to get a series of shots in the can. First, technical problems plague an intimate scene. Then, leading man (Le Gros) flexes a few megastar muscles. And finally, while filming a dream sequence, Buscemi has to cope with both his whacko mum and a dwarf who refuses to be stereotyped as, well, a dwarf.

The movie is completely stolen by Le Gros' womanising Hollywood egomaniac who insists on ad-libbing, altering the script and, in a perfect moment of cinematic in-jokery, informing Buscemi that the only reason he's doing the movie is because "someone said you were tight with Tarantino". Any similarities to Hollywood egomaniacs DiCillo may have worked with in the past is, presumably, entirely on purpose.

Combining farce and tragedy in equal amounts, DiCillo has made a film that should appeal to anybody who has ever had a particularly rotten day.