Gosford Park Reviews
Saw this on 5/6/15
A complete waste of time had it not been for a few of it's twists in the end. One should not watch this film expecting an engaging murder mystery because for most of it's time, the film simply wastes it off with the nagging and petty talks of all it's British elites. This one is too slow to be engaging and the overlapping dialogues are horrible to stand. I won't suggest this to anyone because I felt like I lost my 2 hours+ for nothing, but it does have a few good twists in the end. The film also suffers from having too many characters in it that failed to create any sufficient character development for them or make one feel anything for them.
VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)
The film, which was directed by Robert Altman (Mash, A Prairie Home Companion), is set in the pre-war English countryside, where a wealthy group of guests are hosted at a manor for a weekend party of hunting, games, singing and...murder? Some of 'Gosford's strengths include its witty-yet-smart dialogue, ability to paint a picture of two very different classes and humanize them (servants and aristocrats) and its killer cast (no pun intended). Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon (both paired together before their 'Harry Potter' days) lead the impressive performances, with a young Ryan Phillippe and Kelly Macdonald also delivering in somewhat surprising ways.
Again, the "tale of two cities" setup for this film works well, as we get to follow the series of events through the eyes of both the upper and lower classes as clues are revealed during the hunt for who's responsible for the event that brought all the fun and games to a standstill. While much of the film is shot within the enormous home, the cinematography is still respectable, and adds to the feeling that the film indeed is set years back in time. But perhaps the best part of 'Gosford' is the character development - especially among the servant class, which helps humanize these people in a way that many films do not.
By the end of 'Gosford Park,' the events of the film are pretty believable, and while there really is no true resolution, audiences strangely are okay with how things turn out. That is just one sign of a truly well-done piece of cinema.
The trailer and the film‚??s build-up create this cryptically suspenseful feel about the place, but as the murder is committed, the murder kind of relinquishes its suspenseful grip on us and dwindles in importance until the revelation right at the very end ceases to be of concern for us or even the characters for that matter. We are meant to see Gosford Park as a character focused film where the story functions as an expansion to the characters‚?? personalities, people we are meant to see a narrative within. It may be misleading but Robert Altman loves his characters, and wants them to consistently drive the story where their needs requires it to, constructing an extremely slow and old-fashioned narrative. But, that is the appeal of Gosford Park for it harks back in story, character and set design to a time where this was blockbusting stuff.
Gosford Park is the epitome of the period genre, beautifully crafting the Gosford Park estate so that every inch of the interior is a vast and luxurious historical wasteland of imbalance where two different ranks of society coexist. And in those ranks, an ensemble cast of Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles Dance, Tom Hollander, Bob Balaban, Clive Owen, Emily Watson, Derek Jacobi, Richard E. Grant and Stephen Fry fill the mansion. They are all fantastic in their performances, but three cast members have to be singled out for individual acclaim. Michael Gambon gives such a dominating performance of pure acrimony and pomposity that his demise lets us rejoice that the murder finally arrives. Helen Mirren is the complete opposite of Gambon, quietly and perhaps slightly eerily creeps her way through the corridors and house keeps more than just the estate, but a secret embedded within the fabrics of her worn out appearance. But it is American Ryan Phillippe who travels the Atlantic and dominates the British in their own playground. You may recognise him from American teen films such as Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but upon hearing his remarkable Scottish accent, you may believe his portrayal enough to mistake him for Phillippe‚??s Scottish doppelganger, until he masterfully deceives us all.
Gosford Park is a strictly mature film, with lush dialogue and complex relationships, so it comes as no surprise that it is restricted to senior viewers, but the now completed Downton Abbey was born out of Gosford Park‚??s critical success, and look at the popularity of that, so audiences should try, at least once, the period plushness Gosford Park proposes.
Gosford Park fails to make the most of its delicious murder mystery setup, but in its place offers a character-fixated story that breeds some staggering performances from Helen Mirren and Ryan Phillippe in particular.