The Draughtsman's Contract - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Draughtsman's Contract Reviews

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½ January 16, 2017
A cocky young artist is hired by wealthy Mrs. Herbert to draw 12 drawings of her husband's estate in the 12 days he is expected to be away. In exchange, he will receive a small amount of money, room and board for the 12 days, and a sexual favour of his choosing from Mrs. Herbert each day. As the drawings proceed, it gradually becomes clear that details contained in the drawings may point to a crime. Everything about this film is superb. Greenaway creates an intricately elaborate version of 17th Century England with incredible costumes and production design. Michael Nyman creates an amazing score. The film is a convoluted puzzle of sorts, but there's more to it than just a mystery. Some elements remain unexplained, and it seems even better for it.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
The Draughtsman's Contract has everybody clever in an odd way. I cannot make out what it is about. This is neither irritating enough to make me dislike the film nor intriguing enough to stimulate a rewatch. Would recommend only to those who enjoy the exercise of interpretation; it is not really comical or sexy enough for a casual view.
June 15, 2015
Satírica, de humor ácido y algo teatral al inicio, la trama se transforma de manera impredecible en un inteligente relato de misterio whodunit, con reflexiones sobre el arte y una memorable banda sonora de Michael Nyman.
½ May 27, 2015
This is Peter Greenaway's most sedate and accessible film. It is clever, stylish and unique. I can't help but think that there are so many other elements left unexplored.
February 27, 2015
#MasterPiece and Michael Nyman music too
September 23, 2014
I do want to give this movie credit for being a type of movie I haven't ever seen before. Having said that, I really didn't like it. Soooooo impenetrably British, too much of an intellectual puzzle I didn't care enough to solve.
½ September 7, 2014
Es muy interesante como manejan el uso de los tres tercios y de la zona áurea, realmente te ponen el recuadro en la imagen. La fotografía es espectacular, como el arte y el vestuario, me recuerda mucho a Barry Lyndon de Kubrick.
½ June 28, 2014
A bit bawdy. Yet intriguing. Anthony Higgins has a calming British accent, that helps.
May 8, 2014
This is film-student "master" bation. This is an intentionally obtuse, meandering mess. It has a titillating sex theme, an almost murder mystery, and senseless violence at the end. It is is well-costumed and has very high-end English dialogue, but is otherwise a somewhat contrived "art showpiece" that really shouldn't be a movie. Highly over-rated. I'm sure your more pretentious "film-buff" friends will pretend to love it.
January 24, 2014
A convoluted enigma of a picture, but a must see one.
December 27, 2013
Anthony Higgins is superb in this visually stunning and highly original film from Peter Greenaway.
September 9, 2013
Very irrational film, touch you in every aspect - visually, rhythmically, emotionally, sensually. And change you uncontrolly.
½ July 16, 2013
I loved the overall visual presentation. Greenaway sets up every shot not with an indulgent or pretentious agenda, but with great care to heighten the sense of an artist searching through his viewfinder not for perfection but of the perfect view of reality. Mr. Neville, the draughtsman of the title, is much the same in his task. But he doesn't have Greenaway's benevolent craftsmanship. He is vain, he is haughty and he was is self-serving. And Anthony Higgins plays him masterfully with rigid body movements and expert social restraint, narcissistic eroticism held just beneath. This is definitely Greenaway's most accessible film that I've seen, but it still doesn't come to the perfection that The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover most certainly attained.
½ March 31, 2013
Another one I haven't seen in forever. I WILL watch it again very soon!
½ March 24, 2013
Greenaway's work is not something I can be objective about. I either love his films or loathe them. "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" made me want to toss my television set out the window, but I spent years trying to track down a copy of "The Draughtsman's Contract" because I loved it so much.

Surely one of the strangest films in my collection, TDC requires a lot of attention. You need your eyes and ears open and your wits about you in every sense of the word, because a sense of humor is critical here. The characters are unlikeable, but compelling, the action artificial and the storyline murky. The clues you need to solve the mystery of what has happened to Mr. Herbert, and who is responsible are there, but you have to work with them. Nothing is obvious here.

The performances are wonderful, cool and formal as the drawings around which the story revolves. The scenes are set pieces, remarkably lit and costumed to give a very visceral sense of time and place. Greenaway's background in art comes through very strongly here as it does in "Pillow Book" (another of my favorites) giving the film a lot of depth and beauty.
February 15, 2013
Sjajan, prava ekranizacija literature vremena koje slika...nekoliko godina kasnije: i dalje obozavam ovaj film:)
January 11, 2013
This is the most fucked up movie about 17th Century England, and you know it.
January 2, 2013
Snudd på en perfekt filmupplevelse. Totalt transporterande och magiskt uppslukande.
½ December 30, 2012
Written and directed by Peter Greenaway, who had worked since the late 1960's on numerous short films and later the mockumentary The Falls (1980), here he finally broke into cinema when Channel 4, then about to start up asked him for a film. It was originally made for TV, but after screenings at festivals, it made the jump to the big screen. It's a very weird period piece, and it is an acquired taste. Set in 1694 in rural Wiltshire, landscape artist Mr. Neville (Anthony Higgins) is approached by Mrs. Virginia Herbert (Janet Suzman), who asks Mr. Neville to produce 12 drawings of her country estate for her estranged husband (). Mr. Neville is reluctant at first to partake in this, but agrees to do so, as long as it's on his terms with no interruptions. However, Mr. Neville and Mrs. Herbert are having an affair between drawing times, and things take a dark turn when Mr. Herbert turns up dead on the grounds of the estate. By this point Mrs. Herbert has grown tired of Mr. Neville, who refuses to stop his drawings when she tries to terminate the contract. Greenaway's films are not for everybody, in fact his brand of film-making makes directors like Ken Russell look normal. But, it's well filmed and Greenaway gives it an almost otherworldly feel, from the costumes by Sue Blane (Rocky Horror) contrasted with a good score by Michael Nyman. Greenaway's original cut was three hours long, and included a scene with a cordless phone. What could have been.
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