Monday, January 2, 2012
If you’re among the 1% unimpressed by a parade and football, i.e., motorized flowers and a bunch of blokes who can’t find a civilized way to travel in opposite directions, I have a movie you might like.
Gosford Park. It streams on Netflix.
I don’t know how I missed this film first time around. It’s not an Upstairs Downstairs retread.
Even if it were, I shouldn’t have passed on the film, not when it’s directed by Robert Altman and the ensemble cast includes Maggie Smith and Charles Dance.
Truth in advertising, I could spend a whole day watching Maggie Smith do anything -- read a book, eat toast. She captivates me. If Maggie’s face and voice can’t steal the scene, her hands will do the dirty work. Her hands are a law onto themselves; they float and flap and punctuate the air with exclamation points, question marks, ellipses.
You can view Gosford Park on many levels. Master-servant, almost romance, half-assed mystery. But mostly it's about the bargains we make with others and ourselves, and the stories we invent to justify them.
Charles Dance, as the aristocrat, only gets off the odd line or two. Like when his wife is sobbing for the dead man and he says, “Would you quit sniveling! Anyone would think you were Italian.”
(In case you’re not familiar with Dance, I found this clip. I knew him from Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, and Rebecca, and had no idea he’d spent time in the trenches doing action flicks.)