Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 20, 2010

Gosford Park (2001)
Usually I can take or leave Robert Altman films, but this one works on so many levels that it's hard not to love it. It's one of those films that's nearly impossible to peg as either a drama or a comedy because it truly is both. The division of one story between two distinct points of view ("above stairs" and "below stairs" being the terms given to the rich and their servants) is flawless and the way that the servants become invisible to the audience during above stairs scenes just as they are to the characters is great. The murder mystery plotline seems almost unnecessary and the murder itself doesn't happen until an hour and twenty minutes into the film. Most every British actor you can think of is in the cast (leading Ian McKellen to joke at the Golden Globes that he represented the tiny portion of British actors not to appear in it), plus Bob Balaban and Ryan Phillipe sporting a delibrately bad Scottish accent. Maggie Smith in particular is fantastic.
My Netflix rating: 4 stars

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