Grand film. Plongée dans l'univers de la bourgeoisie anglaise lors d'une parti de chasse. C'est un film avant tout très efficace tant au niveau des dialogues que des images : on passe de l'univers des domestiques, à celui des maîtres avec beaucoup de dextérité. Nombreux souvenirs cinématographiques et littéraires entre Agatha Christie ou La règle du jeu de Renoir.
I wasn't a big fan when it came out. I balked at what I then remember calling its "pop psychologizing." Gee whiz. If anything has ever been a pretext, then the murder mystery and attendant suppressed pathologies here are absolutely pretexts. Pretexts to exult in the potentiality of the cinematographic apparatus and a handful of genius actors. Why doesn't Geraldine Somerville get more and better work? Love her.
This is about the lifestyle of the british aristocracy, people with a lot of money; but with bad, beastly manners. Or, about bondmaids & bondmen treated as slaves in 'modern times'. The movie perfectly captures these relations & dependencies. Hunting, partying, amusement, dinner set-ups, clothing. Athmospherically nicely done. Only as a subsidiary matter the issue of sexual abuse comes up. But it's all about abuse.
In which Altman has the chutzpah to invite comparisons to Renoir and actually comes out looking pretty good. This is his last great film, a wonderfully orchestrated mass of humanity where the heart and soul of the film—Kelly MacDonald—also becomes the ideal detective because she's the only one who really absorbs what she's witnessing. Fun in-joke: the way American filmmakers are shown as interlopers.
First 1/2 hour I was really disliking this film. Then after the first night fell, I started to warm to it. The gossiping, fucking each other (literally & figuratively, & cattiness became a great deal of fun. It's like ultra posh Jerry Springer. Too many amazing performances to name, the script sometimes tries to be too on the nose at times. The murder is a red herring folks
An impossibly rich, flawlessly written, beautifully shot gold mine of character and period detail. Like all Altman films, it demands to be viewed more than once; I've seen this over and over again and it seems fresh every time. The acting is spot-on, but the women, esp. KST, Dames Maggie and Helen, Watson, and the heartbreakingly perfect Blakely are standouts. A wonderfully decadent treat, and one of my favorites.
This film is trying to be both a murder mystery and social commentary, but is infinitely more interested in the latter (to the point where the final revelation of the killer is very underwhelming). Altman has his usual large ensemble, but only the "downstairs" characters feel distinctive and fleshed-out. It's a case where Altman has a large canvas and a full palette, but the final product just feels lacking.
This is probably the slowest movie I've ever seen that I wasn't bored for a second watching. What really matters to who, and why? Despite its comic cynicism I found it to be strangely warm by the film's end. The more I think about this movie the more I like it, and I think that's the sign of a truly great film.