Gosford Park - movie review (February 24, 2002)

We saw "Gosford Park" (aka "British People Mumbling" - with apologies to Mark and Brian and Frank Sontag) today, and I really enjoyed the film. It was on my list of things to see anyway, moreso after the Oscar nominations were announced.

The story is a little confusing to follow mostly because it's truly an ensemble piece, and there are so many people to get acquainted with, and there's not necessarily a lot of effort to orient the viewer. It's kind of "on-the-job training", as it were, as you try to figure out the relationships. But that part is also fun as well, and satisfying when you finally get there.

There is a basic story that carries the film, but it's used mostly as a simple plot device. It's really a film about relationships, a character piece.

The acting is superb all around, from Oscar-nominateds Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith, to Emily Lord, to a much-too-small contribution from Derek Jacobi, to Kristin Scott Thomas (who I've discovered I like better when she's playing English) to Ryan Philippe and a number of other actors whose names I don't know and the actor whose name I don't know but who could pass as the spitting image of a young Geoffrey Rush.

I'd heard that some people had trouble with following the dialogue (as they waited for the universal translator to kick in), and I can kind of understand that point. There are a number of different English and environs accents mixed together, but I don't think it's any more difficult than any other movie with English actors.

A definite recommend. Nice score by Patrick Doyle as well. And the Best Director nomination for Robert Altman is well deserved.

We've seen all the Best Picture nominees now, so next is to fill in a few of the gaps from the acting nominations.


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