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Woody Allen plays Tex, a kosher butcher. Sharon Stone plays his unfaithful wife Candy. Tex catches Candy in the act and in a fit of rage he kills her. To conceal his crime he cuts up her body and buries it in the desert in New Mexico. However, when her hand surfaces, a blind woman trips over it and it restores her sight. The hand is then considered to be the "hand of the Virgin." Despite the church's fallen priest objecting, the ambitious mayor of the town creates an international three-ring circus of miracle-seekers, TV crews, and born-again local prostitutes all interested in the hand. All of this goes on while Tex is desperately trying to recover the hand before the sheriff finds it and uses it as evidence against him. Written by
"Picking Up the Pieces" is a black comedy involving a gruesome murder, but without explicit violence. It's darkly satiric comments on religion are the centerpiece, with a powerfully expressive focus in the corpse's hand itself. Alfonso Arau has made a small gem of a movie, not to everyone's taste, but hilarious to many. The acting is quite good throughout. Kiefer Sutherland, as the villainous, red-neck cop perhaps overdoes it a bit, but it is satire. David Schwimmer, as a small-town New Mexican priest in love with a local prostitute and whose church is in financial trouble, is exceptionally good. And Sharon Stone (unrecognizable as the super-promiscuous wife of Woody Allen's butcher) is excellent as a woman whose final victimhood allows her redemption from a life of sin.
Three and a half Stars. Check it out
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