*** Official "GOSFORD PARK" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tino, Jan 6, 2002.

  1. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Are you in the mood for a wonderfully atomspheric British whodunit with great performances from a large cast of great actors?
    Yes? Then Robert Altman's Gosford Park is for you. It was a refreshing change from the usual loud noisy films that normally come out during the holiday season. It is intelligent, well acted,
    beautifully photographed and, above all, an immensely entertaining murder mystery. It is based on an idea by Altman and Bob Balaban.
    It tells the story of a weekend of pheasant hunting, gossip, lust, jealousy, poignancy, betrayal and a murder that could have been committed by a number of people. The juxtapostion between the guests and the servants stories worked very well.
    Among the many familiar faces are Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas, Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, Ryan Philipe, Bob Balaban, Jeremy Northam
    and of course the wonderful Maggie Smith. I especially liked the performance of Kelly Macdonald as Miss Smith's maid.
    It is sort of a cross between Remains Of The Day and Murder By Death. To say more would be spoiling many great surprises, so I'll stop here.
    One of the years best and highly recommended[​IMG]
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Tino, thanks for the review. Roger Ebert thought highly of it as well so I'm definitely gonna check it out. BTW, the description you give of Gosford Park reminds me of Rules of the Game...
     
  3. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Any reason why it might not be getting the Best Picture talk, yet Altman is getting Best Director talk AND awards?

    Just wondering since I won't get to see it for a few weeks.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

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    I was thinking about going to see this film but I have two questoins. Is this film a lot like Clue? And how is Clive Owens in it?
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  7. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Thanks for the review, Tino. My wife's desperate to see this film, good to know it should be worth waiting for [​IMG] Hope it makes its way to Dallas soon...
     
  8. StephenT

    StephenT Stunt Coordinator

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    Just saw it this afternoon. I was very much looking forward to it, but I left it rather let down.
    It certainly was well acted and well directed, but I found when it was over that I just didn't care about any of the characters. Perhaps that's what happens when you have so many. It took at least half of the movie for me to grasp who each character was and whose valet was whose. It certainly could be a film that will be much more entertaining upon subsequent viewings. Still the only emotion I felt the entire time was slight curiosity at whodunit, and I don't think another viewing will change that.
    Thinking back there were clues everywhere as to the ending. It certainly was very well constructed. It's a fine film based on the technical merits, but in the end it just didn't do anything for me. I'd love to hear the reasons why those that loved it did so.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] 1/2 (out of four)
     
  9. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Saw this last night with my wife, and we both really enjoyed it. It's a film about moral vapidity (is that a word?) of British society, the differences between the Upstairs & the Downstairs, and the interactions between both of them...

    The murder is just a 'gizmo' to breakdown the social structure more - it's certainly not the crux of the plot.

    There is a lot of fine British actors doing some fine acting. Emily Watson is especially good as a maid who has been in service for too many years. Kelley MacDonald finally gets a good role to play after Trainspotting. Maggie Smith steals almost every scene she's in as the old bitchy matriarch.

    I imagine Gosford Park isn't everyone's cup of tea. It has a lot of characters, a lot of relationships to work out etc, and there really isn't much 'action' as such - lots of talking. But it's a fine film with some great acting.
     
  10. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Gosford Park is billed as a comedy and a murder mystery. It certainly has those elements. But I found it more to be a drama where plot is really not that important.
    Those who didn’t find Chicken Run to be all that funny might run into the same situation here. It is a British comedy, which means that there will be some cultural barriers to overcome to understand some of the jokes, in addition to the British accents that others in the screening that I attended had problems with.
    In addition to that, throw in a cast of about 30 British and American actors. What you have then is a film that demands one’s full attention in figuring out who’s who and the relationships between one another, which at first can be very confusing.
    Robert Altman has crafted a film with fine performances that demands at least more than one viewing to soak it all in. However, my initial impressions would be that I was unable to connect with any of these characters because of their lack of depth.
    A second viewing is definitely in order but that would have to wait until its release on DVD.
    ~Edwin
     
  11. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

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  12. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I saw Gosford Park last week and was a bit disappointed given some of the early reviews. In fact, as the film passed its midpoint I found myself doing something I can't ever remember doing in a movie theater - nodding off. I wasn't the only one - a man several rows below me had a good snore going at one point.
    Although I felt the movie started strongly, I feel as it progressed Altman just lost control of the characters & relationships. The mid-section of the film just meandered aimlessly. A little judicious trimming (of time and characters) would have helped immensely. The "downstairs" group was fairly well-defined, but "upstairs" there were a few too many vapid young men & women who I could never tell apart or even understand what they were doing in the story. As the film reached its last half hour things tightened up a bit, and I feel it finished as strongly as it began.
    One thing you cannot fault is the ensemble acting, which as expected in an Altman film is uniformly excellent. Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, and Kelly McDonald in particular stood out for me. It was a shame, however, to see so many great actors (Derek Jacoby, for example) pretty much wasted by giving them in some cases less than 5 minutes of screen time.
    Altman is by nature an experimental filmmaker and Gosford Park is an interesting experiment that, while not a complete failure, is far from a complete success. Its prominent mention in many of the year-end awards is puzzling to me, except that perhaps spurred by last year's M*A*S*H anniversary, the film community feels Altman is overdue. That's fine, he is, but give him a lifetime achievement award. I fear Altman will take the DGA & Oscar, depriving a director who's more deserving of the awards this year. Oh well, that's the way these things go.
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  14. Stacie

    Stacie Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw Gosford Park on Sunday, and I really enjoyed it. I definitely want a second viewing, however, since I think I will enjoy it even more once I don't have to concentrate so hard on figuring out who the characters are and what their positions and relationships with each other are. I don't have time to write much of a review, but I will make a few observations.

    That a first-time viewer can make any sense of the plot or characters in light of the presence of such a large ensemble is testament to Altman's directorial virtuosity. I think this is why he's getting so much recognition for his work in this film.

    I did find the second act perhaps a little slow. My initial impression was that the film would have played a little better if the middle section had been tightened up a bit. Upon further reflection, however, I think it might be better as it is. As others have remarked, the viewer is already at a disadvantage in trying to get acquainted with so many characters in such a relatively short span of time. It might be too much to keep up with if the film was shortened up very much.

    I felt that the emotional distance between the viewer and most of the characters was probably intentional and very likely necessary considering how many points of view there were to get a handle on. Also, for me, my relative noninvolvement emotionally through most of the film paid off in a big way at the conclusion. I could be wrong about this (I need a second viewing), but I think Altman was deliberately attempting to suddenly dissolve the emotional distance during the very last section of the film in order to heighten its impact.

    Finally, I commend this film simply on the basis that it has something most films lack: the capacity to continue to be worthwhile and rewarding upon multiple viewings. That, in my view, is perhaps the single most important quality that makes most classics "classic." I won't argue that Gosford Park is a classic, but I do think it has the stuff to endure, much more so than most of its peers at the multiplex.
     
  15. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    I saw it with my wife on monday and I just gotta check with the others to see if I got it right...

    The head maid poisoned the man, and her son came in an stabbed him after he was dead. The whole point of the movie is revealed in the last dialogue with the head maid "I am the perfect servant. I know what people want before they do". She poisoned her master because she knew her son would try to kill him as well. She was his servant, and wanted to offset his crime by doing it first.

    I thought it was brilliant and thought provoking. The depth of this last part floored me. Any thoughts?

    Jason
     
  16. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Jason, you've got the plot completely right.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for Gosford Park. Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of Gosford Park should be posted to this thread.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

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    I finally got to see this tonight, and really loved it.

    The upstairs/downstairs part was entertaining, and really is a biting social commentary on the class structure in many ways.

    I got a kick out of how Jeremy Northam's character (Novello) has to "sing for his supper", but he's only background entertainment (at most) to the social crust, while the help is absolutely mesmerized and enthralled to hear/see him live. I thought that was a classic Altman take on Hollywood as entertainment for the masses.

    I also thought Altman took a couple more shots at Hollywood with Bob Balaban's character (Weissman) the director and Ryan Phillipe's character(Denton) - the opportunist, to put it politely.

    GP is a well-acted ensemble with many clever lines, gorgeous, rich settings, and enough intrigue to keep it entertaining, even if it is hard to empathize with any one character. That's more the fault of an overly large ensemble (it takes half the movie to figure out who is who, and their relationship to others) than anything else, IMO. ALmost requires a second viewing to catch a lot of dialog and follow everything - and will be worth the time to do so, for me.
     
  19. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Well, I've finally seen it. My local cinema, the one I have easy access to if I don't want to journey by train, has (very uncharacteristically) decided not to show Monsters Inc for yet another week, and instead is screening the Oscar-nominated Gosford Park.
    I hardly recognised the interior of the cinema. No kids. In fact, most of the audience were quite elderly, and no one thought to chatter through the film either.
    This is one of those rare films that earns the phrase "all-star cast". Incredible talent all 'round, with Maggie Smith (in particular) on top form. Detail was everywhere: in the acting, the costumes and the set design.
    I confess I've been oblivious to most of Robert Altman's career - something I plan to rectify in 2002. The only other films of his I've seen are The Long Goodbye and M*A*S*H, both of which I also thoroughly enjoyed. This is because he seems to be a director who likes to shoot films which can stand up to multiple viewings. The audience isn't always led by the hand, and you are required to think - and if not to think, to pay attention, because a lot is happening on several levels.
    So what about the plot? Quite frankly, I would have been happy enough if the film had remained a character piece with no central storyline. I knew there would be one as soon as one of the characters mentioned the plot of his new film he was making, almost as an aside to camera. I laughed. On the surface this film may seem quite serious, but it really is very funny indeed. A lot of wry, dry humour - just my cup of tea.
    137 minutes? That much? The time flew by!
    Sigh. I wish more films were this good. IMHO, Gosford Park deserves to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and, considering how much I love Moulin Rouge, that's really saying something.
    edit: Thanks to the mod who moved my post. I did a search but must have missed it. Sorry. :b
     
  20. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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