CINEMA: A Gangster Steals the Show

Woody Allen's Bullets over Broadway, about a hoodlum turned playwright, is deft and funny and defines genius too

"An artist creates his own moral universe." The desire to remind David (John Cusack) of such a burden is irresistible -- he's so young, so serious, so ambitious, so innocent. The trouble is that the universe he actually inhabits is the Broadway of the 1920s, where, as in all show-biz societies, morality is entirely ego driven and provisional.

Director-screenwriter Woody Allen and co-writer Douglas McGrath have comically and affectionately reimagined the archetypes of backstage dramas from the days when the New York theater was a robust and glamorous institution. They're all here, doing their best to bring David's neo- O'Neillian work...

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