What piece of work is this movie! I've always thought it's a great lesson on aesthetics and, of course, about Rembrandt's «De Nachtwacht», one of the most exceptional paintings of the XVII. He's one of my favourite Dutch Masters. It's not the first time Greenaway plays with cinema and visual arts: the result, here, is terrific! I swear, it's a must-see cinematographic portrait, as well as Jos Stelling's one.
Boasting an excellent cast, led by the outstanding Martin Freeman (who brings a strong sense of humanity to the central role), 'Nightwatching' is a frequently remarkable film. Shot in Greenaway's distinctive, theatre-like world, this absorbing movie is in turns sad, repulsive and profound. It has a rawness and spark very rarely found in period films. Pawlik's haunting score works wonderfully too.
Seen in relation to the subsequent Rembrandt's J'Accuse, it seems a masterwork of critical suggestion. Apart, it feels incomplete. While essentially a remake of The Draughtsman's Contract, the film succeeds as both an investigation into the artistic process & as deconstruction of the Dutch master's style. The cinematic reproduction of van Rijn's work is of course exciting, but the human element is no less compelling.
5 stars for the visuals and Freemans endlessly watchable performance. 2 stars for the way Greenaway uses the tired trope of female suffering to further the drama for his male protagonist. The film is otherwise fantastic but why we can't come up with better ways to tell stories about men than to have them react to female deaths and miseries is beyond me. 3 1/2 stars, really, but rounded up.
An incredibly fascinating experiment in film. Are we watching a regular story? Are we watching a piece of theatre? Greenaway captures Rembrandt in such a beautiful and artistic way, it truly is remarkable. Has Martin Freeman every come close to this performance since then? That would be hard to imagine. What might do this film the most justice is its surprising intrigue with conspiracies.
Too bad old Rembrandt didn't see 'The Draughtsman's Contract'. It was also about a cocky artist that bites the hand that feeds him. I'm a skeptic, so I have a hard time with believing in conspiracies. You do an unflattering group portrait, and you stop getting commissions. It's not a conspiracy. It's market forces. Also, tastes change.
After watching the film for a second time I liked it better. Greenaway has an increbible ability to use Rembrandt's colours, lights and spaces - like he did before with Vermeer's style in "A Zed & two Noughts". Structure and dynamics of his shots are incredible. Michael Nyman's score could be better: He composed a nice piece, but due to its permanent repetitions and use in underscoring it gets dreary.
Verbeux et parfois difficile à suivre, cette 'Ronde de nuit' demeure une œuvre prenante où l'on apprend beaucoup sur la genèse du tableau, sur Rembrandt et son travail. La mise en scène originale et la superbe "photo" (ou plutôt "la peinture"?) témoignent du soin de Greenaway et de sa singularité. Vous verrez rarement un film en costume aussi réussi et visuellement beau, où chaque séquence prend des airs de tableau.
It was fascinating to watch this. Was it a theatre play? An extensive, creative, innovative explanation of a work of art? Would it be better if every art museum guides could be as colourful, derivative, and informative as this? Darkness permeated the film while Martin Freeman's Rembrandt had a dirty mouth.I really wish I could see more of his acting like in "Nightwatching". I truly believe he can pull it off.
A different piece indeed. It took a moment to adjust to the filming style which allowed me to pause at any moment to capture a painting in motion. I found the first hour quite captivating and the plot fascinating. I couldn't help but enjoy the lead role. The music as well was quite fantastic. Yet the last hour was a bit of a cluster. A Greenway I have found the most easy to get entrenched in.