Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gosford Park (2001)

Director: Robert Altman
Writers:   Bob Balaban, Robert Altman, Julian Fellowes
Cast:       Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren

The lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a party in 1932 in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them.

Apart from its period settings, I didn't know much about the film going into it. The murder happens only halfway through the film and this lack of knowledge about its plot made what came before even more enjoyable. It really looked as if a social studies kind of film with a 'Festen' twist to it. The behavioral examination of  decaying British aristocracy and the parallel world of their servants which also mimics the social hierarchy of their masters' were fascinating to look at  and the wise words of the Russian Duchess from the recently watched Peaky Blinders series three came in handy. Even though it takes a whodunit turn midway through the film, it doesn't toe the traditional lines as the investigating officer played by Stephen Fry is a bumbling idiot. We also don't care much about the whodunit aspect as we are interested much more in the way the characters behave rather than treating it as a puzzle that we should solve.

It is a great watch and all the films that I have seen of Robert Altman's have been great. Nashville is next on my list. The TV series 'Downtown Abbey' was initially  conceived as a spin-off show from this film and but later it ended up as a stand-alone one. Gosford Park has got a great ensemble cast and it must have been a big break for Clive Owen.

PS: British period drama are really a mystery to me. You just don't feel like watching them but if you can get past the first 15 minutes or so, it more often than not impresses you. Am not talking about shit like King's Speech but more in the vein of Atonement, Jane Eyre etc...

Rating: 4.5/5