Directed by Robert Altman. USA. 2001.
Gosford Park is a marvellously constructed, multi-layered, gentle mystery involving an eclectic group of high society members out for a hunting party. Problems evolve when a wealthy patriarch is taken off the guest list. Permanently.
This is a movie that makes
me root for the creation of a “Best Ensemble Cast” award at the Academy
Awards for Gosford Park would certainly be deserving of one. Out
of all the amazing performances there are three that will most likely garner
the most attention:
2) Clive Owen
3) Emily Watson
With the current trend of importing British talents for Hollywood, I can only hope that the right casting director is going to notice Clive Owen. (Lorna Doone, The Rich Man’s Wife) In the role of the mysterious Robert Parks, Owen shines. He gives a performance on par with that of Anthony Hopkins’ in Remains of the Day, a good hearted man, with an secret agenda. Owen, through minimalising his actions, has an ability to allow his inner emotions to shine through with merely a glance, or the inflection in his voice.
Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Hilary and Jackie) is wonderful in the role of the discreet house maid Elsie. Her’s is the character you find yourself wanting to sit down and have tea with. She is outspoken, and brave (considering the time period of the film of course), and is an absolutely fantastic female role that Watson does everything imaginable with.
On first viewing, Gosford Park doesn’t feel like anything truly out of the ordinary. After a few days of not being able to get the scenery or characters out of your head, you do begin to realize just how well crafted it really is, with attention being paid to every detail from the patterns on the china plates, to the costumes of the ladies of the house. The set up to the main event is a tad too long, but every performance is exquisite. This is a classy period piece and is absolutely beautiful to watch. As it’s without the flash of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and the heroism of A Beautiful Mind I expect it will get shut out of the final list of winners at the Oscars this year (2002), but for my money it’s well worth the spot it obtained.
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