Loved this! Don't know why I should be attracted to films which feature a brace of squabbling individuals, particularly those superficially maintaining a strong, loving relationship but, once what is under the surface is revealed, they demonstrate themselves to be people who will readily 'scratch the eyes out' of their partners as well as of all those around. I find it most entertaining to witness, often hilariously so. Perhaps it might have something to do with my never having been in such a position myself, and if I had experienced it I would find it more painful.
Sally Potter, a director/writer never to be ignored ('Orlando', 'The Tango Lesson') comes up trumps again with this latest which, at a mere one hour ten minutes, must be about the shortest main feature I have ever seen. If I wish it had been just a little bit longer, even just by a quarter hour (and how often do I say that?) I have to admit that it finishes at just the right moment.
Set in real, continuous time, and filmed in b/w, it features just seven players in the single setting of the home of married Kristen Scott Thomas with hubby Timothy Spall, the latter silently morose, drinking and playing jazz records, while she is single-handedly making preparations for the expected gathering to celebrate her elevation to the post of government minister. The invited guests start to arrive - a marvellously acid-tongued Patricia Clarkson, with husband Bruno Ganz who keeps inappropriately spouting New Age aphorisms which she wearily dismisses as claptrap - their relationship is clearly already well withering. Then a lesbian couple, Cherry Jones and Emily Mortimer, the former expecting triplets (!) - and then finally, a nervy, coke-snorting Cillian Murphy, arrives, apologising for the delayed arrival of his wife.
Formal courtesies are exchanged and social dignities are aimed at - until Timothy Spall makes a disclosure which may explain his taciturnity - and then things rapidly begin to unravel, not just for him but impacting on every one of the group - and fur starts to fly!
It took about 15 minutes for my first smile to arrive, and a few minutes later came the first of my many laughs - and they then came thick and fast. (I have to say that a good number of the large audience were well ahead of me in this respect). I was thoroughly entertained by watching these characters haplessly trying to maintain composure, though with futility. I thought the script was strong, the acting as near-perfection as one could wish - I'd single out both Kristen S.T. and Patricia Clarkson in particular - but, oh, I do wish it had gone on just a little bit longer.
It's one of those very rare films that left me longing for more, (which itself must be a first!). Having said that, I did make a well-satisfied, smiling exit......................8.
45 minutes ago
I can't disagree with any of this, just as I felt. If only all films could be like this.ReplyDelete
I thought my verdict might have been ever so slightly up on yours, Rachel. I'm glad and reassured to find that we are of like minds.Delete
I have not seen advertisements for this one...sounds good and what a change for length, isn't it? Usually they run on and on. Sadly, the good ones are too short! I have to admit I am not a fan of Cillian Murphy's, however. Something about him I always find off-putting, no matter the role.ReplyDelete
It hasn't had that much publicity, Elle, but from the size of the audience yesterday, word has travelled fast, and I got the impression that the vast majority of them liked it a lot.Delete
I don't share your aversion of Cillian M., though I think in this one he's arguably outclassed by most of his co-stars.
Even though the film is so short I doubt if you'll be demanding a part-refund. It's concentrated quality!
I also seem to be attracted to films that feature squabbling individuals. One of my all time favorite films (not the play which I hated) comes to mind - "Carnage."ReplyDelete
It is rare that you express such enthusiasm. This is a definite must-see for me. Added bonuses are the quirky Patricia Clarkson, Broadway's finest actress, Cherry Jones and the gorgeous Cillian Murphy.
I couldn't agree with you more about 'Carnage', Paul - as we've discussed before. It would very probably be in my Top 50 most enjoyed films, and definitely in my Top 100 (out of now close on 5,000).Delete
If 'Party' doesn't quite reach the height of sheer enjoyment which that one did, it comes mighty close to it. You'll love it for sure.
I ought to have singled out Bruno Ganz for special mention too. I could never have imagined him as the sensitive character he portrays here.
This is a new one for me, but your rave puts it high on my list!ReplyDelete
Unmissable, Bob. Just unmissable!Delete
I too have not heard of this film, but your review has left me very intrigued. I'm a big Clarkson fan too. It may make me take one of my very rare trips to a movie theater. I much prefer to watch most films in the comfort of my home without the distraction of talking people and their cell phones.ReplyDelete
Actually it's a film that doesn't necessarily profit from being seen in a cinema, TGA, as it's small scale - and would work equally well on TV (as well as on a theatre stage). What the cinema venue gains for me is, when there's intelligent people in the vicinity (though not TOO close!) whose main purpose in being there is having attention to what's happening on the screen, then I like to feed on their reactions, as well as contributing my own.Delete
You may well already guess that I'm entirely with you on the maddening activities of some members of an audience, especially the younger set during 'blockbusters'. I can report that in the case of 'The Party' the largely mature, even elderly, audience was a model of good behaviour. And in any case, the film is too short in which to become bored. (Heaven forbid!).
But do catch up on it sometime.
Sounds good Ray! I hope I get this in my Netflix account.ReplyDelete
I know that it's the kind of film that attracts you too, Ron, so you really must see it. Nothing to lose and such a lot to be positive about.ReplyDelete