Monday, February 4, 2013

Day Thirty-five - The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, or "Surreal is really the only way."

I honestly didn't know what to expect being a first-timer to this film. Occasionally, it showed up in conversation about cinema, but not often enough to make an impression on me besides remembering it name.

I was drawn, though, by its cast roll. Helen Mirren, Alan Howard, Michael Gambon, Tim Roth, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, and Richard Bohringer... all terrific actors.

It was oddly hard to settle into, mostly because of style. And that's one of the main selling points of the film. It is very surreal. For the first half of the film, it's simply a transition between four locations: street, kitchen, dining hall, and bathroom. Each has it's own color palette which is followed strictly. A point is made for costume changes in every location so that the actors match the color theme of the set.

Another artistic choice was not having the protagonist, the bookseller Michael (Alan Howard), speak for the entirety of the first act. In fact, he and Georgina (Helen Mirren) conduct their affair wordlessly, deftly slipping in and out of the other's embrace until Albert (Michael Gambon) inadvertently goes about formally introducing them.

This broken silence is even lampshaded as, during their very next trist, their dialogue not only covers it, but pushes it aside with their passion.

I want to love this film more than I do.

It's brave in the risks it takes, it had intriguing artistic direction, and does its best to bring back classic greek tragedy. Peter Greenaway was definitely ambitious and in top form putting this production together. I think its problems stem from its staging and cinematography.

Now, that's not really their fault. Yes, they could of made the shots more intimate and quality, but I think it was an artistic choice to aid the film's surreal atmosphere. I shouldn't fault them that, but I do wish it could have been more crisp and clear... with tighter closeups and better lighting.

I want my movies to look like movies, not stageplays.

Anyway, it's an interesting piece that is worth the watch for film aficionados, but would probably be lost on folks looking for your typical escapism. It's art. A bit pretentious, a bit divine.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

No comments:

Post a Comment