Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gosford Park

Movie Name: Gosford Park
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Ryan Phillipe, James Wilby, Bob Balaban, Jeremy Northam, Charles Dance, Stephen Fry, Kelly Macdonald, Clive Owen, Alan Bates, Richard E. Grant, Derek Jacobi, Eileen Atkins
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

"Gosford Park" was one of Robert Altman's latest features, and one of his most celebrated (the film was nominated for 7 Academy Awards). The film written by Julian Fellowes, follows the events that occur during a weekend shooting party in the 1930s. The weekend gathers a big group of personalities, both the visitors and high society characters, alongside the service staff who's there to make sure everyone is attended to. All this diverse group of characters have secrets and obscure motivations to be there, and during that weekend these come to the surface. When the patriarch and sponsor of the lavish lifestyle, Sir William, is murdered, all these relationships and intentions start unraveling.
The script by Julian Fellowes is very much inspired by the British TV show "Upstairs/Downstairs" which ran between 1971 and 1975 (and in turn would inspire his celebrated TV show "Downton Abbey"). Robert Altman manages to perfectly capture the class differences and relationships between this wildly diversified group of characters, something that was a trademark of his (large ensemble casts depicting a particular universe, be it the country music scene in "Nashville" or the writings of Raymond Carver and the LA crowd in "Short Cuts"). While the narrative in itself doesn't bring anything profoundly different or new (class struggles in England in the 1930s), the film is fantastically well acted due to the quality of the enormous cast assembled, and it plays out like a well oiled production from BBC. It's a film that manages to have a good combination of humor and drama, while also featuring the beautiful cinematography from Andrew Dunn, and the great work from a talented production team. An entertaining film worth watching.