Stunningly cinematic and audacious on every level, writer-director Tim Robbins's look at the collision of the Depression-era art world and politics may well be a masterpiece; at the very least it confirms that Robbins is now, officially, a major American
auteur. The basic story (it helps to know a little history) involves the government-funded Federal Theater group, home to Orson Welles (Angus McFadyen) and gay composer Marc Blitzstein (Hank Azaria), whose pro-labor musical will be shut down on the eve of its opening, courtesy of red-baiting
congressmen. Around that, there's a dizzying succession of subplots involving (among other things) the stormy relationship be...