For Altman, this is a major statement about American hypocrisy and society’s haves and have-nots, in line with many of his films, but issued in a kind of offhand way that delivers only glancing emotional impact.
This period gangster yarn...is neither in the front rank nor the slag heap of Altman's oeuvre. Rather, it's an atypically accessible attempt at mainstream entertainment that contains both satisfying and off-putting elements. [16 Aug 1996, p.L24]
A production that's strong on atmosphere but weak in the plot department. Watching this often-tedious film, you begin to feel as if you've been kidnapped - which is appropriate, anyway, since the story concerns an abduction.
Jazz is a good metaphor for Robert Altman's movies they're often improvisational, free-form and full of unexpected dissonance. Unfortunately, his movies also fall prey to the hazards of jazz they can be boring, screechy and endless. Thus, Kansas City. [16 Aug 1996, p.49]