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Anesthesia Review - AVClub

AVClub: Though he’s still best known for playing the delightfully dimwitted Delmar in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Tim Blake Nelson has spent the past two decades quietly building a notable career as a writer-director. His range has been impressive, too—everything from Shakespeare (O, a teen riff on Othello starring Mekhi Phifer and Josh Hartnett) to a goofy stoner comedy (the dual Edward Norton vehicle Leaves Of Grass) to an almost unbearably grim Holocaust drama (The Grey Zone). Perhaps it was inevitable that Nelson would eventually try his hand at one of those sprawling, everyone-is-connected ensemble pieces that contemporary dramatists seem to find so irresistible. Still, it’s dispiriting to see him produce something as turgid and heavy-handed as Anesthesia, which employs a dozen or so cardboard characters as mouthpieces for singularly unilluminating thoughts about the ways in which people struggle to bury their unhappiness.

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