by Greg Muskewitz
A distinctly unique whodunit in the vein of Clue: assemble a wild assortment of characters/friends/players, brew a murder and stew a pot of motives that has everybody, at least initially, capable of some form of responsibility in the state of affairs — that, more or less, is what the film boils down to.It is interactive in a way, immensely addictive (at least the first go-round), and far more vicarious than any role-playing videogame I can think of. There’s certainly more to Gosford Park than the bare essentials I laid out — the class rivalries between one-another, the eyes and ears strategically ornamented via the downstairs servants, the inner- and intra-competitiveness of a turntable’s worth of possibilities and probabilities, etc. That interactiveness, that fusillade of characters and motives, that gamely quality, and the collective inventiveness of Gosford Park is but a fraction of what connects for the registered attribute of fun here. I am hardly a “fan” of Robert Altman’s, though I can certainly find appealing examples every few years, though he often shoots himself in the foot or other non-vital places, possibly because he sees to it to deliver something new each year, ŕ la Woody Allen. To fit with the muffled sound of the film and dialogue, the film equally has a muted and hushed look — placid yellows, fuzzy oranges, crispy eggshell whites. Through that fanbelt of ambiance, whisping around the estate, when the characters are searched and observed, the film displays their cogs twisting and motives substantiated.
Among the collection of performances, the most fun are as follows: Claudie Blakely, Helen Mirren, Kelly MacDonald, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Clive Owens, Kristen Scott Thomas, Bob Balaban, Jeremy Northam, Stephen Fry, Alan Bates and Derek Jacobi. Also with Geraldine Somerville, Natasha Wightman, Camilla Rutherford, Richard E. Grant, Eileen Atkins, Jeremy Swift, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson and Ryan Phillippe, amidst others.[Worth-seeing.]
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originally posted: 10/06/02 12:26:40