The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
We're left with two suitably hammy performances by Caine and Law, who do not forget they are actors playing actors, and a production design that must have kept the lighting people doing some ingenious plotting of their own.
Branagh, whose screen career with Shakespeare began on a high note with Henry V and has gone steadily downhill since, does a nice job keeping a stagebound piece relatively cinematic without resorting to the usual opening-up techniques.
Just when things should be getting exciting and complex, they become repetitive and predictable. Subtext becomes hint becomes statement becomes declaration. For once, Pinter is a little too easy to understand.
Leaving aside two brilliant 1963 film adaptations of [Pinter's] best work, The Caretaker and The Servant, the terse opacity of the dialogue that served his early plays so astringently has never translated well onto the big screen.
I think the movie works best if you know the original and have a taste for goofy revisionism -- say, Hamlet as a giant Hawaiian luau with the final duel on surfboards, or Paul Anka doing a finger-snapping "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
The real culprit, dear Watson, is playwright Harold Pinter, contracted here for a baroque rewrite of Shaffer's original dialogue. The result. Is one. Of unbearable artifice. Throughout. The entire film. Some puzzles just give you a headache.