Gosford Park (2001) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 131 mins Release Date: 26 Dec 2001
The reason why many viewers strongly dislike or even hate the movie "Gosford Park" is because they misunderstand the point trying to be made. Gosford Park wasn't made to focus on whodunit if it was, why would they tell you who did . If viewers think that Gosford Park is "boring" or "confusing" or even "the worst movie ever", it may be that you're not willing to see what really is portrayed: the authenticity and its story. The authenticity of Gosford Park is as close as it can get to real life as it was back then as it can get. Experts who were <more>
maids, butlers, or cooks themselves were constantly at the scene criticizing the actors behavior and moves. Another main focus is the story behind it. The brilliant story as well as excellent character development are like no other: only Robert Altman could do a film such as this. So, next time you see it which I highly recommend that you do , be PATIENT and actually be WILLING the enjoy the differences in film-making, not just the kind of films you like.
I wish I was more surprised that there are so many negative comments, but I'm not. This is not American Pie. It's a beautifully acted and very well written film for adults with an attention span of more than 5 minutes. Concentrate, it's worth it. I don't give 10's easily. This is a 10!
AWESOME ALTMAN!!! (by stephenawebb)
This film opened the London Film festival and I was lucky enough to see get tickets. Robert Altman was there and so were most of the cast.I've seen over half of the Altman cannon of work and this has to rank up with his best. Set in the 1920's, a group of people get together for a shooting weekend at the estate of Lord and Lady Mcardle. There are two sets of characters, the Toffs upstairs and the servants downstairs. With his customary multi-streaming overlapping narrative, cross cutting dialogue and interwoven storylines, Altman sets up dynamics within and between the two classes. <more>
There are up to 32 speaking parts and each of them is invested with a clear identity. Just from a few lines, a gesture, raising of an eyebrow, we have an idea of a character's feelings and motivations.At times the narrative moves at such a fast pace, but we never lose track of whats going on. Scenes such as the Toffs in the Drawing room having tea - many conversations happening, dynamics being set up - and another where the servants are rushing around downstairs, as the camera weeves its way through the corridors, are exhilirating cinema!! Altman has a tight grip on the proceedings and this only wavers slightly towards the end.There is a fantastic scene, where Ivor Novello - a guest, is invited to sing for the other guests and all the servants listen covertly from whatever vanatge point they can find. Novello oustays his welcome, amongst the gentry, but the servants cant get enough.What Altman has done here, helped enormously by the wonderfully humourous script by Julian Fellows, is invested these period characters with a modern sensibility. These are not the boring, stuffed dummy museum pieces of your typical period picture, these people are real. Rich or poor, their fallibilities, desires, disaffections and frustrations are evidently clear. This movie is so good, I wanted to get up and cheer at certain points. Altman is well served by the 'creme de la creme' of British Actors. All are excellent; Maggie Smith, Emily Watson, Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Jeremy Northam to name a few. This film may not be everyones cup of tea and i am someone who can go watch anything from Scream 3 to the latest hot film from Asia, but those that invest the time on this film, will be much rewarded. Altman deserves the Oscar that has eluded him for far too long.
Gosford Park is indeed one of Robert Altman's best films. Third best of all that I've seen, following Nashville and 3 Women. Still, I am a tiny bit disappointed with it. I was hoping it would be next to Nashville and 3 Women. I'm not sure if it will even remain in the third spot in my mind for too long. It's not as memorable as many of his other films that may not be quite as good. In fact, at this point I feel more of an affinity for his last film, the unfairly despised Dr. T and the Women.Still, one can't at all watch Gosford Park without being amazed at it. It ranks <more>
along with the many great European films in this tradition. It is undoubtedly most influenced by Rules of the Game, directed by Jean Renoir in 1939. That film generally ranks at #2 out of every film ever made on the Sight and Sound polls, taken every decade they're to be taken this year, 2002, for the seventh time since the poll's founding . I don't agree with its high status refer to my own reviews, three of them, one individual and then two parts of a 1000+ word one, on imdb . I find it wonderful for the most part, but then it utterly falls apart by the end. Other films in the tradition include Ingmar Bergman's Smiles on a Summer Night, Luis Bunuel's Diary of a Chambermaid incidentally a remake from an American film directed by Jean Renoir, which I have not seen , and, most recently, Thomas Vinterberg's Celebration, aka Dogme 1. These films all play with the relations between the master and servant class in varying degrees. Godford Park is perhaps the most complex in that respect: it gives equal time to both sides, allowing for a lot of character identification. It also contains an enormous cast, as you might expect from Altman, and all of the characters are perfectly developed, also as you might expect. The acting is brilliant. Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith were singled out by Oscar voters, both receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but I don't know how they chose between the two dozen actors and actresses in order to arrive at those two. Everyone is equal to them, and I imagine a lot of the actors who didn't make it were suggested by the Academy members. The direction, of course, is beautiful. It's on par with the rest of Altman - I don't think he's ever directed poorly, even in his "bad" films. The score is beautiful. Stephen Altman's production design is miraculous - it was nominated for an Oscar, but defeated by Moulin Rouge!. Moulin Rouge! is merely showy. The production design here is subtle as hell.I do find some fault in the script. Most of it is brilliant. It won the Oscar for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. I would have chosen Memento myself, but Gosford Park is nearly as deserving. The dialogue is always spot on, and the plot is fantastic - that is, until the murder. I'm not going to spoil anything, unless you didn't know that there was a murder sorry if you didn't, but it was in all the ads! . It's just that the murder feels forced - a lot like the murder in Rules of the Game. It just never seems necessary, and what results from it is not as interesting as I would have hoped for. There's also a ton of setup for the murder in the plot, with tons of bottles of poison being shown and the victim nearly getting shot and so forth. And not enough results from it. The mystery is also not interesting. It was much more interesting - and in line with the theme - when the two groups were simply interacting. The explanation doesn't say anything that wasn't already implied, and some of the unforeseen relationships between the characters don't add as much weight to the drama as they are meant to.That's all a rather minor criticism, to tell the truth. It still works, it's just not as strong as I think it could have or should have been. Of course, Gosford Park does qualify as one of the best films of the year and a very worthy addition to Robert Altman's stunning cinema. I've seen around a dozen of his films, and, while I really haven't ranked many a 10/10 only Nashville, very nearly my favorite film, and 3 Women , Altman has the rare distinction of producing a body of work that is actually greater than the sum of its parts. I give Gosford Park a 9/10.
At last a proper English film made by an american (by gokuminkey)
A superb who-dunit that your not really sure who done it until about five minutes from the end. Unlike in an Agatha Christie the murder was at least done by a main member of the cast,and clues weren't left out until after you have found out who dunit. I thought the ensemble cast was in the main very good especially Maggie Smith's cutting wit. Robert Altman has made a truly superb film about life in a 1930's country house house with all the upstairs/downstairs prejudices and snobbery.The first hour is mainly taken up by perfectly paced character development.Then the murder happens <more>
and the guessing begins. I particually liked the Clive Owen character Parks an ambiguous and dark character with more skeletons then most and not all in his own cupboard.One last thing,it was a joy to hear real english and scottish accents rather than the sterile "HOLLYWOOD" version that we hear all to often.I cannot understand the compliants about not being able to understand the dialog in this film nobody on this side of the pond ever seem to have any problems with American accents unless they are speaking spanish of course!! .
This was an enjoyable movie. I thought the murder mystery was secondary to the class distinction story. Some of Emily Watson's dialog was hard to catch but her acting was a pleasure. Helen Mirren, as always, was exceptional. Clive Owen was also good. No one actor really stood out in the story. The view of downstairs at an aristocratic British mansion was a revealing and a refreshing change. The DVDs extra were also fun. A movie well worth seeing.
Filmmakers in Service (by tedg)
Spoilers herein.Another Altman film about filmmaking. I wonder why so many people miss this.Balaban is from an old film family and is among the more intellectual men in the business. Altman spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about the art and how he differs from others. And he does. Now you don't have to imagine what they talk about.The conventional approach to high quality visual directing is for it all to emanate as a vision in the author and/or director's mind. The actors are expected to recreate that vision. So when a particularly strong image results, it is because the <more>
actor filled in the space in front of the camera. Think of this as actors in service to the director, the employer.Altman is different in a fundamental way. He comes up with a vague sketch of a script: descriptions of characters and a situation. He allows the actors to find their own way. The result is often -- as here -- remarkably dense, taught, real. So much finer than can be filtered through several minds. Think of this as the director is service to the actors.Here's where the upstairs/downstairs metaphor comes in.Now think how Altman works with his camera. He has astonishing movement. His legendary reputation as a filmmaker rests primarily on his skill in adding to the effect of the scene by making our eye an active part of what is going on by placing lights and moving the camera. Hitchcock invented this notion, but then he is in that large group of directors who simply boss the actors about. Easy to place the camera right when you know where everything is going to be. But what if you don't? Then you have to be the perfect servant, understanding your masters so thoroughly that you can anticipate what they are going to do.There you have the idea that Balaban and Altman first sketched. Now to make it highly self-referential, what do you do? You set a conventional murder mystery and actually place the filmmaker in the middle of the action, continuously commenting on how this is to be shaped. But he's completely ignorant, hence the references to formulaic Charlie Chan. The real solution would only be known by someone who understands this notion of anticipative service. Enhance the metaphor with notions of `children' from the upstairs through the wombs of the downstairs.More: make it obvious that we are talking about the moving camera eye, so actually insert Ivor Novello in the action as `entertainment.' Ivor was in `The Lodger,' Hitchcock's first film where he used this `moving eye' style. His attunement to Ivor's movements it is a silent film was what was so remarkable at the time. Notice that Balaban doesn't `shoot.'Altman is not a man of half measures, so make it even more self-referential: make one only one of the privileged guests disguise himself as a servant, to cross the line. You can't play on both teams.This is not a film about manners, not a costume drama, not a whodunit. The story is about what it is: a film about the fluid, anticipative eye, in service to some of the most talented theatrical actors alive. The enjoyment in this film is not in watching the actors, pleasant though that is; it is in watching how we watch the actors and marveling at how our eye becomes part of the `team.'Every actor here, every footman and scullery maid is a better actor than Julia Roberts, who incidentally shot Balaban in the throat in Mexico. Every actor except Ryan Phillippe. He's the white space, the reference point of bland American fare, intended to show us what bad acting is all about. Notice how staid the camera is when following him.It is all heavy symbolism and would be the first thing commented on in a P T Andersen film. But not here. Now that's art.
This movie is working on multiple levels (by philip.levy)
For roughly the first two thirds of this movie, I found it slow. The acting was good, but the contrast between the upstairs aristocracy and the servants below seemed a bit obvious and the plot didn't seem to be going anywhere interesting. Then it began to dawn on me that there was much more going on. I'll just touch on one interesting point SPOILERS BELOW . The Emily Watson character, in the bath, says, "Why is it all about them?" She's referring to the aristocracy and how the servants get their vicarious enjoyment through them. Yet the whole point is that it was NOT <more>
all about them. The employers are often begging their servants to hear the gossip. The employers are the ones who must sit respectfully while music is playing; the servants get to dance. And, ultimately, one of the aristocrats is murdered because of the affairs of the servants. It's a particularly nice touch that the Kristen Scott Thomas character is only dimly aware that such affairs are going on and dismisses them as irrelevant, even after they have just turned her life upside down. The movie came together in a way I found very satisfying. As others have said, it is NOT about the murder mystery. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but I'm anxious to watch it again.
A good Altman flick, not bad yet not great either (by Quinoa1984)
There was nothing much about Robert Altman's latest film Gosford Park to have it up there with films like MASH, The Player or Cookie's Fortune, but that doesn't stop Altman and his usual huge ensemble to have a lot of entertaining fun with Altman and Balaban's original idea transformed by Julian Charnis' fine script. In 1932 England, a shooting party is being held with a lot of aristocratic guests and Altman here examines the differences and sometimes similarities with the aristocrats and the servants and valets living in the same estate. Then the story also sprawls into <more>
the realm of murder mystery, but like other Altman films, the characters are paid more attention to than the plot which could be tricky yet it is pulled off making this a stylish, joyous semi-comedy. Large cast includes the likes of British veterans and newcomers including: Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Clive Owen, Emily Watson, Kelly MacDonald her best performance since Trainspotting , Ryan Phillippe, Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam and Balaban himself as a movie producer. B+