Like a weird mix of Ealing comedy, magic-realist fable & something that would later evolve into the TV series Midsomer Murders. Greenaway's usual theatre of cruelty has never appeared more playful, as an entire narrative preoccupied with the presentation of lists, games, repetitions, doubles & the layering of visual information becomes an ornate, often maddening arch cinematic game full of its own clues & challenges.
TV, re-rating. At times Greenaway gets immersed in his own demonstrative exuberance, fruit of an eccentric personality and of an immense culture that amuses itself with its own specularity and spectacularity - in this sense, this filmmaker is a Welles' heir, the great propeller of Méliès magic. In this film made of strange games and exuberant things, the final part is so reiterative that gets tired in its own breath.
Irrigating his wry but often dry-as-dust formalism with a fecund fairy-tale conceit (as well as a great deal of water), Greenaway conjures Angela Carter even as he predicts Wes Anderson, indulging his fetish for games (and gamesmanship) within an allegorical narrative of maybe-feminist, maybe-sort-of-misogynist revenge, in which there is more than one way to know the score, and more than one way to keep it.
Never been so enchanted by a Peter Greenaway. I normally find him pedantic and too self-conscious for his own good. Just because a movie is meta doesn't mean its good! But this is beautiful! Every shot could be a painting in a gallery. The plot is cleverly inspired. Not much bad to say about this one. I think I'll return to this soon enough.
(...)Vieles in Peter Greenaways Film ist einzigartig, ja einmalig! Er lebt von der Begeisterung des Regisseurs für obskure Symbole, die manchmal darüber hinwegtäuschen, dass seinen Filmen eine ersichtliche Form fehlt. Ich denke, du wirst Greenaway entweder lieben oder hassen, verstehen aber auf keinen Fall.(...)