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Anesthesia (2015)

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Multiple lives intersect in the aftermath of the violent mugging of a Columbia University philosophy professor.

Director:

Tim Blake Nelson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Waterston ... Walter Zarrow
Ivan Goris Ivan Goris ... Ignacio
Rob Morgan ... Parnell
Corey Stoll ... Sam
Mickey Sumner ... Nicole
Kaipo Schwab ... Tenant
Tim Blake Nelson ... Adam
Kristen Stewart ... Sophie
Philip Ettinger ... Roger (as Phil Ettinger)
Gretchen Mol ... Sarah
Natasha Gregson Wagner ... Marta
Erica Cho ... Teacher
Jacqueline Baum ... Allie
Ekaterina Samsonov ... Angie
Hannah Marks ... Ella
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Storyline

Philosophy professor Walter Zarrow is wounded during a mugging. In an effort to escape he rings buzzers indiscriminately, waking Sam, a middle aged father of two having an affair in the city. Sam reluctantly answers Zarrow's pleas, and Zarrow loses consciousness in his arms. Through an exploration of why these men, along with the mugger, and an addict named Joe, come together, we explore New York City. The experience of Zarrow, Sam, Joe and Zarrow's assailant ripple quickly out to include the connected lives of a housewife struggling with alcoholism, a stoner teen desperate to lose his virginity, a brilliant but failed writer fighting addiction, two parents confronting the prospect of terminal illness, and a brilliant grad student who wounds herself to feel alive. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who we don't know can save us

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content, drug use and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crímenes y virtudes See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,747, 10 January 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,386, 31 January 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kristen Stewart and Hannah Marks previously worked together on The Runaways (2010). See more »

Quotes

Allie: Well, like you say mom. Smart people, girls especially, are all fucked up.
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Soundtracks

Gone the Bells
Performed by Cotton Jones
Courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records, by arrangement with Sub Pop Licensing
Written by Michael Nau, Whitney McGraw
Published by Portable and Affordable Songs;
Administered by Secretly Canadian Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Planting cabbages
7 January 2016 | by David FergusonSee all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The comparisons to Crash, the 2006 Oscar winner for Best Picture, will be numerous and understandable. However, rather than an expose' on racial tension, writer/director/actor Tim Blake Nelson turns his pen and lens towards the somewhat less profound, though still fruitful subject matter of suburban angst amidst the educated elite.

An opening featuring a violent mugging on the stoop of a NYC brownstone grabs our attention quickly, and rather than follow the immediate aftermath, we are instead taken back in time to study the characters and events leading to that tragic moment. The tangled web of intertwined stories is made up of no fewer than fifteen different characters, each of whom is impacted by what happens in that opening sequence.

Sam Waterston plays a beloved Columbia University Philosophy Professor who is exceedingly happily married to Glenn Close. Director Tim Blake Nelson plays their son, who is married to Jessica Hecht, and together they have a teenage son and daughter (Ben Konigsberg, Hannah Marks). Michael K Williams plays a big shot attorney who forces his best friend (K Todd Freeman) into drug rehab with a renowned doctor (Yul Vazquez), while Gretchen Mol plays the mother of two daughters and wife of Corey Stoll.

All of the above might seem simple enough, but Mr. Nelson's script jumbles things up for each character … just like what happens in real life. Waterston discovers that his prized pupil (Kristen Stewart) has psychological issues and needs professional help – just as he decides it's time to retire from teaching. While their kids are smoking pot and exploring sexual frontiers, Hecht and Nelson are dealing with a medical dilemma. During his rehab, Freeman is quietly confronted by a nurse while being let down by his only friend; and as Ms. Mol turns to the bottle to numb her daily pain, her hubby is making plans with someone else (Mickey Sumner) … and China may or may not play a role. Whew!!

Daily life creates many opportunities. Some of these turn out good, while others seem destined to create pain. It's that pain … sometimes quite arbitrary … and how we deal with it, which is at the core of these characters and their stories. There is also the always-present quest for truth and search for the meaning of life. We know we are in for a ride when Waterston's character says "I used to believe in nothing. Now I believe in everything." Worlds colliding at every turn keep the pace of the film brisk, and the familiar cast of actors allows us to easily accept each of the characters. A bit more polish on the script could have elevated this, but even as is, the film delivers a worthy punch, and has us questioning if we should be "planting cabbages" (Montaigne).


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