This movie has all of Robert Altman's trademark features:
  • No single lead actor
  • multiple characters talking all at once, some mumbling
  • waltzing camera shots with few real close ups
  • viewpoints of multiple characters presented (some simultaneously)
  • a dialog scene totally trampled by a simultaneous musical piece
While these features can make his movies difficult to follow, they give a very real-life feel to the movie, and a more complete feeling of what things must have been like. He also made a significant effort for this movie to be historically authentic at least in the small details.

The first half of this movie focuses primarly on character development, and the remaining half on trying to figure out who did the murder and why. If you watch carefully enough, it is fairly obvious "whodunit", but the why is not all there until the very end.

Although I enjoyed this movie, I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much without turning on the DVD subtitles, as many lines were so deep in the background that they were difficult to hear, and the thick british accents didn't help this american much either.

People who didn't like this movie probably weren't able to cope with Altman's complex chaotic style, or missed the point for one of the other reasons above.