The Servant - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Servant Reviews

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June 15, 2016
Professional servant Barrett (played by Dirk Bogarde) is hired by a wealthy young man, Tony (Edward Fox), as his man-servant. Initially Barrett is the ideal man-servant - quiet, loyal, submissive, unquestioning and very helpful. However, over time the shine wears off and he reveals more of his true self, and it's far from submissive. Moreover, with time the master-servant dynamic starts to shift.

Good build up to what I was hoping was going to be a very powerful and/or profound ending. Characters are given depth and are dynamic in their personalities. There is a decent degree of engagement and the plot develops well, albeit slowly.

I was happy to take the slow-burning nature of the movie, figuring there would be a big pay-off at the end. Unfortunately, the end doesn't quite reward you for your patience. It does demonstrate how the dynamic between the master and servant has shifted, and how significantly, but that's it, and it's not really a surprise. I really was hoping for something more explosive at the end.
April 16, 2016
Boy, I don't think I liked this at all- which was so disappointing to me since I love Pinter, Losey and all of the actors involved. Though I think it's failures are really due mostly to the direction, I thought the momentum of this movie dropped terribly with the introduction of the 'sister,' and once that initial storyline dissolved you felt like leaving the film, but wait, there's an hour more! I was also shocked at how little Pinter's voice came through with this, it actually could have really benefitted from incorporating more of his style.
I had a hard time sympathizing with Fox's character who seemed to be creating all of the problems for himself for no real reason other than laziness. I didn't buy his transition to from upstart rich house buyer to such co-dependence on somebody who had already wronged him. The fiancee giving up so easily didn't sit well with me either. Ah, all in all this just didn't do it for me.
I will say this movie was beautifully shot though, it had some wonderfully framed scenes and interesting angles which at least keeps it visually watchable.
February 7, 2015
beautiful from the first to the last shot
½ December 26, 2014
One of the best British deama films of the 60s. Dirk Bogarde is excellent as the assertive servant who becomes involved with upper class gent James Fox which eventually leads to roles being reversed with Fox becoming the servant. Written by Harold Pinter and directed by Joseph Losey if you are a fan of British films and actors you will enjoy this. Bogarde was formerly a matinée idol with the Rank Organisation but branched out into ArtHouse films in the mid 60s. Co starring Sarah Miles and Wendy Craig.
December 11, 2014
Masterful piece in subversion of class relations, power, and sexuality.
September 15, 2014
Re your intro ....Bogarde part is not a Cockney. He's Yorkshire. Mike Hamilton Melb Australia
July 3, 2014
Opaque but hypnotically absorbing allegory of power, exploitation, and sublimated sexuality in a class-based society. Certainly difficult to define, this period piece messes with genres, power relationships and your head.
½ April 2, 2014
Brilliant psychological drama with a first class script by Harold Pinter and a top notch cast. Dirk Bogarde is superb as Hugo Barrett and Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig and James Fox are also very impressive.
January 5, 2014
"James Fox hires insouciant cockney Dirk Bogarde". Wrong. Barrett's from Manchester, not the East End of London. (That's where Cockney's originate) Erm, not everyone in England is a Cockney despite what you've gleaned from the stock characters in the dumbed down movies you usually watch but do not see. These cities are 200 miles and a world apart. Please learn a little more about your subject matter before claiming you have the ability or insight to write an informed review.
½ December 16, 2013
An intriguing eventful film.
November 16, 2013
Losey and Pinter's first collaboration (they would continue their rapport in ACCIDENT 1967 and THE GO-BETWEEN 1970), THE SERVANT imposes an alluring tale of a subversive master-and-servant relationship, with heavy homo erotic undertones (the author of the source novel Robin Maugham is "defiantly homosexual") way ahead of its era, so it is time to revive this hidden gem to make it circulate to a more open-minded demography for its sheer marvelousness.

A young aristocrat Tony (Fox) hired Barrett (Bogarde) as his servant to administer his house, but Barrett has his own plan to manipulate Tony to be completely reliant on him, so assisted by his complicit Vera (Miles), and hampered by Tony's supercilious fiancée Susan (Craig),
it is a binge of seduction, betrayal, debauchery, drug abuse and mind games.

Douglas Slocombe, the prestigious British cinematographer, brings the film to life with his ingenious camerawork, the setting is largely confined interior to Tony's residence (dominantly in the shots is a bookshelf-shape door to the living room, camouflage beyond the veneer is a running theme here), Slocombe is ravishing the eroticism and tautness by his superlative deployments with mirrors (it is in the poster!), shadows, shades (Tony's silhouette hiding behind the shower curtain during a hide-and-seek) and sublime focus-alteration, refracted by the B&W prism, the potency is mind-blowing and soul-cleansing, up to the very end, the transcendent oddity of the situation could only pique one's curiosity for more, for the imbroglio is so fascinating, so nihilistic, anticipates A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971, 8/10)'s benumbing ridicule.

John Dankworth's alternately light-mood, lyric, jazz-infused and riveting score is a handsome companion to Pinter's satirical and pun-slinging screenplay (under the weather? poncho and gaucho?), when Tony addresses to Susan that "he (Barrett) looks like a fish", it hits the bull's eye. Bogarde continues his bold glass-ceiling-breaking endeavor after VICTIM (1961, 8/10), bags another self-revealing role and unleashes his nefarious audacious in the duality of Barrett's servant-and-master changeover; while his on-screen prey James Fox, who, indeed, is equally brilliant in his breakthrough picture, out of four main characters, none of them are good-natured, but he is the only one can collect viewers' sympathy, and one may not root for him, but witness his downfall nevertheless needs more than the fondness of his willowy figure and innocent eyes. Miles and Craig, the two female companions, can not receive the same laud, Miles has a strident voice and being excruciatingly annoying whenever she talks and her performance is in excess of theatricality, which luckily would tune down in her later effort in RYAN'S DAUGHTER (1970, 7/10) and THE HIRELING (1973, 6/10); Craig, whose snobbish and frigid poise is off-putting, albeit she has the most recondite sensibilities to present in the frenzied coda, the efficacy is beyond her ken.

THE SERVANT may be Losey's finest work and should be appreciated more, it is a divine psychological drama with a latent homosexual struggle which perpetually beleaguers human nature and finally we reach the opportune time when we can look directly into each other's eyes without feeling ashamed or offensive anymore.
½ September 4, 2013
"The Servant" es una obra de mucha elegancia e impecable factura que es un deleite experimentar a pesar de lo oscuro que se torna el argumento y lo voluble de las personalidades de sus protagonistas. La historia involucra a un aristócrata que decide contratar a un sirviente para su nuevo hogar en Londres. El sirviente, de nombre Barrett, es un asistente leal pero su rostro sugiere un trasfondo siniestro.
Las actuaciones en "The Servant" son extraordinarias (en especial de Dirk Bogarde y James Fox) pero la cinta es un virtuoso despliegue de dirección lleno de estupendas composiciones. Esta es una gran película.
August 20, 2013
Dark, twisted, perverse, disturbing yet oh-so-captivating. A favourite. Pinter and Losey must be one of the best cinematic pairings in history.
August 1, 2013
A fascinating film that tackles the oft-worn story of a servant and a master reversing their roles. Joseph Losey's film certainly stems from concerns about the caste system that arose in England after the war, but the film's craft and performances make it more timeless than the social commentary does. Lowry films The Servant with a keen understanding of what-and-what-not to show regarding it's sexual matter (the film was considered very steamy for it's time though), and the performances from his four leads are all layered and ripe with character development. The ending is something truly spellbinding, and something to consider ahead of it's time, realizing that the movie predates Persona. The momentum has some jarring spots, but for the most part this is as superb a black comedy as it is a subversive work of art.
½ August 1, 2013
its a really good movie
½ July 23, 2013
Trailer (preview) suggests a provocative destitute fallen from the good graces of a ravished middle-class bureaucracy. Maybe a harbinger to the classic film noir of the early 40's to the late 50's. Could be interesting!
July 22, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
May 19, 2013
a bit over-rated I thought.
April 10, 2013
Fantastic, a lost classic in every regard.
April 2, 2013
Excellent film! Just a shame that the women are so badly represented. Also the last act could have done with less of that 60s vibe. Nevertheless Bogarde is superb and so is James Fox and the film is great fun to watch.
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