Gosford Park Reviews
"Tea At Four. Dinner At Eight. Murder At Midnight."
Well Gosford Park wasn't as amazing as I hoped it would be. It's packaged as a murder mystery, but really all it is, is servants gossiping about the higher class and the higher class gossiping about their fellow higher class. The whole murder thing only takes about an hour of the movie, and even then it doesn't really drive the film.
The first hour and fifteen minutes of the film is devoted to getting to know the huge cast of characters. There's so many characters to keep track of. You got all these servants and maids, and then there's all the higher class. No wonder so much time had to be devoted to character development, there's just so many of them. We get to see the life of both the upper class and servants during a weekend stay at a rich mans house. Then the man whose house everyone is at is killed and a detective is brought in, who ends up questioning a lot of people. The movie didn't play out like your standard dinner party murder mystery, where someone is killed and everyone stands around in a big group and tries to figure out who did it. It's grounded, for better or worse, in reality.
What makes this movie a worthwhile film is a huge and talented cast. Maggie Smith, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Ryan Phillipe; and the cast goes on and on and on and on. My favorite performance came from one of the smaller names, Kelly McDonald who plays a maid and is the one who actually pieces the whole thing together and figures out what happened. The performances go a long way in keeping this slow meandering plot going.
I can't say whether I liked this or not. I liked the idea of it and the acting was outrageously good. In the end though, I was left sort of underwhelmed. Hardcore Altman fans are probably in love with this film, but for me, it's just another movie, albeit with one of the best ensemble casts ever configured. Whether or not you'll like it will depend on your ability to watch really talky movies and still find it intriguing. I normally can, but by the hour mark I was kind of ofer the whole gossip thing.
One of the best and most noticeable features of this film is great cast. There are so many big names in this film, British names to be specific...in fact basically every English actor is in this. With this in mind, I had high expectations. The cast delivered. This film is wonderfully acted, with excellent performances from everyone, especially Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Kristen Scott Thomas, and Emily Watson.
Another thing that really stuck out to me was how solid of a period piece this is. The film studies the British class system of the 1930's, and I really felt like I was therein the era. The sets were all stunning and elaborate, as were the wonderful costumes and props. Everything about the appearance of the film was top-notch. An extremely well made film.
Also the script was great...very powerful and effective. It deserved its Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The story that went along with that was also great. The film is slow, but it does eventually lead of to a murder. This is the main focus of the film, but at the same time it emphasizes the entangled relationships of everyone in the house. I think that's the reason this film suceeds.
Overall, I think this is a great film. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, this is a must-see film!
This is some really fun stuff. It's an ensemble darkly comedic whodunit murder mystery period piece, but it's also so much more than that. Yes, a murder is the film's centerpiece, but it's also a finely observed examination of the British class system and the upper class's dependency on servants. The film also touches upon the state of the British Empire during the interwar period, sexual mores of the time, and gay issues, primarily that of the questionable reltionship between the American film producer and his valet. I think that Agatha Christie style whodunits are just fine, but I really appreciated that this film was more than that and tried be entertaining but also provided some insight into the decline of the aristocratic way of life.
Robert Altman was a great choice for this, and the results are not disappointing, as this is a wonderful film and a great entry in his oeuvre. It's got all his trademarks, most notably the ensemble cast made up primarily (though not exclusivly) of a who's who's of actors and actressess from the U.K.
It took me a bit to get used to trying to keep the interconnectedness of all the players straight, but once I got the hang out it, I found myself thoroughly entertained. I did have to put the subtitles on, but that's no big thing. The script is quite sharp and filled with all sorts of fun twists, turns, and set ups for who did it and why. This is a rather lengthy film, but I really didn't seem to notice it all that much. Everything just cruises right along and all of the exposition is just juicy and fascinating stuff.
The cinematography, art direction, and set design are top notch, and the large cast put in some tremendous work. I especially enjoyed Maggie Smith, Kelly Macdonald, and Ryan Phillippe. Oh yeah, and Michael Gambon. He's great too.
You should really check this out. It's a fantastically done film that's super entertaining and oh so British. Hats way off.
Director: Robert Altman
Summary: Sir William (Michael Gambon) is found dead soon after his guests arrive for a weekend stay at his English estate. Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas), Constance (Maggie Smith) and Ivor (Jeremy Northam) try to make sense of the crime. Meanwhile, gossip flies among the household help.
My Thoughts: "First off, this film has an amazing group of actors. Probably one of the best casted films I have seen. The film is beautifully acted and directed. The characters keep you intrigued throughout. All of them are there for their own greedy reasons. There is so much happening in this film from all the gossiping, to the individual stories, that it might need a second watch to catch it all. Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Croft both have very sad stories which kind of pulls at your heart strings.
The story is a 'who done it', kind of film. The problem is the suspense of it was lost on me cause the killer(s) was quite obvious for me. Even the reason behind it. But even though it was predictable for me, it still kept my interest. Definitely a film to see."
By focussing on the servants so much, Altman flips the story on its head. As in the Charlie Chan films Bob Balaban's character works on, the presumption must be that "the butler did it." So what does Altman do? He gives us 20 maids and valets, and lets the intrigue fly not among the upper class but within the lower. Absolutely brilliant.
Add to it the pitch-perfect performances of Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith and - AGAIN - Kelly MacDonald, and you've got one for the ages. This film is a true delight, beautiful in every way, with great shots, lighting, sets and an ensemble cast that is among the best every assembled.
Multiple storylined drama set in 1932, showing the lives of upstairs guest and downstairs servants at a party in a country house in England.
This is a remarkable film. Those who have described it as thin and boring have simply missed the point; probably because their senses have been dulled by SFX and obvious plots. Robert Altman has used his extraordinary insight to show the multi-layered dependency of the Edwardian English upper classes and their servants in the twilight of their existence. Not only is it a remarkable script, but it is brought to light by an array of the finest acting talents Britain can muster. Of course it takes an hour to bring in all the characters because that is what the film is about. The plots and sub plots are almost incidental to the interweaving of the relationships and the complex development of character, often in a single sentence or even word.
A wonderfully accurate presentation of upper class England at the beginning of the 20th century. Fantastically good costume, sets, etc. Good performances by the entire ensemble. An interesting murder "mystery" as there is really no mystery as to who committed the murder--take your choice: there are multiple suspects with equally valid motives, opportunity, and action. It's only a question of who "killed" him first. The crime isn't solved, but refreshingly "gotten away with" since the victim was so heinous.