CINEMA: Radio Active

George Lucas tests the limits of high-pressure narrative

Radioland Murders is many things: the multicorpse mystery story implied by its title; an old-fashioned romantic comedy in which a couple -- nicely played by Mary Stuart Masterson and Brian Benben -- are bickering their way toward divorce even though they're still in love; a satire of all the conventions of big-time radio, circa 1939; a group caricature of all the types -- frantic sound-effects man, silky-voiced announcer -- the medium once nurtured.

Yet none of this is really the film's subject. Its true topic is chaos. All the above and a lot more are crammed into a tight time frame...

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