The Dresser Reviews
Tom Courtenay is Norman, a dresser who arduously endeavors to handle his best friend/charge's grievous emotional complications. At the end, after a difficult performance of King Lear, Norman sits by his charge, who is simply referred to as "Sir," reading aloud the acknowledgements in Sir's autobiography. He gives thanks to everyone, even the carpenters and sound effect operators - with the exception of Norman. Norman looks over to Sir in angry, sad confusion. Sir is dead.
Albert Finney plays the part of Sir, delivering his usual bravura performance. His character is sorrowful, peppered, and self-aggrandizing. He is dreaded yet sympathized by his costars. When he begins his 227th performance of King Lear he is static due to nervousness caused by a stirring of emotions. When he ends he has found his inner soul, and, overwhelmed with gratefulness, gives one final bow.
Norman is among the most fascinating supporting characters I have ever met at the movies. He is Sir's greatest advocate and pal, having unswerving defense of him. He shovels away all the sediment of Sir's deep-rooted emotional impair with alcohol. He is the only one who truly loves him. Courtenay serves this character better than any actor could capably do.
This is one of Peter Yates' last films, having earlier that year directed the absurd Krull, ten years earlier directing the masterful The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and in 1968 the action-packed classic Bullitt.
A beautiful triumph in visceral filmmaking, The Dresser is among the best films of the 1980's.
Then it proves that this is an exceedingly diverting film from the late director Peter Yates even though the quintessence of pleasure may lie in Finney and Courtenay‚(TM)s crack two-hander, which is beyond any thespian methods, two utterly gallant performances brilliantly deliver every tiny little nuance and never descend into a stasis of tedious affectation. Theatrical adaption has always been an impeccable showcase for actors. A copybook triumph from both Finney and Courtney. The King Lear play in the film proffers a tour-de-force stage for Finney's expertise and his overpowering sway is both intimidating and entertaining; as for Courtenay, whose character molding even merits more pluck due to the self-challenging devoutness. Which one I prefer, after some contemplative thinking, despite of Finney‚(TM)s pretty fierce endeavor, I will choose Courtenay, a lesser known actor but achieves a more startling reverberation.
Among the supporting roles, Eileen Atkins is managing to steal some flare from two leading players, she is so underrated and should be ranked alongside Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, among the most venerated names inside the so-called UK Dame coterie.
The film has set up a perfect mode for the contemporary play-goes-film trend, within some minimal usage of settings, the impact has been magnified in an index level to be seen by a much larger audience. The screenplay is the keystone here, that‚(TM)s why they‚(TM)re emerging in an inexhaustible tide which verifies that theatrical play is an endless fodder-provider for both awards-craving production companies and thespians.