4 (he has a lot of 4's). Mubi lists this as a "thriller". It does have a murder plot, although that rests on the level of a hypothesis until late into the movie. I'm positively gaga about the witty dialogue, whose dominance means this is one of the less visually overwhelming Greenaways (thank god for that). You'll leave this movie with a new army of insults. That makes any movie worth it!
An angry, existential period film, in which manners express outrage rather than repress it. Greenaway manages to meditate broadly on questions of art and perception even in an atmosphere of general disgust. He seems to be suggesting that beauty and pleasure might only ever be a matter of individual delusion.
This film luxuriates in dry wit and satirical critique of the genre that it so well represents. A period piece through and through, the dialogue hits every right note. Delivering scathing retorts as freely and as naturally others talk about the weather. This film's universe is wondrously constructed and allows its characters to grow and fill the scenery. This is both the reason to watch and to mock period pieces.
Inscrutable and insanely mad at the same time, this early Greenaway film is a wiggified English costume drama beset by demonic possession. The draughtsman, Neville, acts as a journalistic observer -- or a cipher -- of the bloody class warfare on the grounds of a decadent country manor. While the central mystery -- who killed the lord of the castle -- is not easily resolved, the journey is one mesmerizing trip.
One of a kind. A multi-layered film which manages to play around with ideas around power, (including sexual politics, religion and class) and the nature of representation into a cross between a surreal comedy of manners and a murder mystery. Not always enjoyable but often disturbing, cerebral and funny. Visually extraordinary, the structural symmetry and frame composition are both integral to the drama.
Sort of a mix of Henry Fielding and William Hogarth with a bit Fellini sprinkled on top. Worth it just for the lovely locations and the admittedly exaggerated costuming. And apparently the fellow running around naked and blending into the scenery is credited as Statue...
The surface of this movie—an absurdist kinky British costume drama/mystery—is so delightfully weird that it seems a shame to deconstruct it, even if that's what it's crying out for. What we have is a strange, cheeky dark comedy about the creation and interpretation of art, where lust puts the lie to intellect, and any attempt at control is just begging for punishment. My first Greenaway, and I'm tempted for more.
A twisted tale that is fully brought to life by adept costume and a throbbing soundtrack, Greenaway articulates the pithy cruelty with absorbing characters and social motivations. Recalling some of the best period pieces, this film drives a stake into estate of the English Garden tradition.
Wonderful shots and extravagant wigs galore, it is, like a Greenaway film, with an air of a play about it. The compositions and staging make it feel as though you’re watching theatre performed on the biggest stage ever constructed, one that is visible from all angles and as expansive as an estate. Beautiful greenery and plotting involving murder and intrigue.
Have no doubt, Peter Greenaway does not make films—he makes Art. And how one feels about Art (as opposed to art) likely reflects how one feels about Greenaway. But compared to other Auteurs such as Antonioni who prefer to wallow in mystery, Greenaway seasons in pleasure. As many of his films, “The Draughtsman’s Contract” is ripe with sex, consumption, and luxury. -->
Such a delicious piece of English deviltry, all presented with wit, a large serving of painterly tableaux and a touch of the mysteriously/erotically perverse to modify the palate. Grab your best ostrich-plumed hat and join the ingenious gentry in throwing pearls before swine--it's Peter Greenaway. A modern classic.