Gosford Park

"Good"

Gosford Park Review


If Robert Altman had been given The Remains of the Day, the end product might have looked something like this.

Gosford Park is the name of an English country estate, where, in 1932, a gaggle of royals and wannabes -- including a horde of locals plus a popular British actor and a Charlie Chan-obsessed Hollywood movie producer -- gather to attend a weekend hunting party. Upstairs, it's the usual hoity-toity, drawing room chitter-chatter, while downstairs an army of servants does little but gossip about the visitors above.

But the days of naval-gazing come to an abrupt end when one of the bigshots ends up stabbed to death. Or does it? Surprisingly, the gossip and jabbering don't stop. In fact, with the exception of a few cops investigating the murder, the conversation continues virtually uninterrupted (mostly about illicit affairs), in a droll fashion that only Robert Altman could devise. It's a simplistic parable for high society attitudes of the era -- perfectly willing to go about their business while the Great Depression raged around them, leeching fortunes into nothingness.

This curious combination of Merchant-Ivory and the movie Clue is part crowd-pleaser, part art movie -- which all but guarantees it won't find much of an audience. The characters are rich and a good deal of fun (thanks to inspired casting that brings underrated stars like Bob Balaban, Michael Gambon, Clive Owen, and Richard E. Grant under one roof), but with 23 major roles, it's hard to care about all of them -- and it's often even difficult to tell who's who (those '30s women's hairstyles were awfully monotonous). Thankfully, most of the performances are engaging without being over the top (a problem that doomed Altman's miserable Kansas City to the dustbin).

Unfortunately, the plots they appear in are stretched so thinly as to make them largely irrelevant and even interchangeable. Only a few characters -- like Ryan Phillippe's valet -- undergo even moderate transformations. (Which, it goes without saying, is the problem with having 23 leading roles in your movie.)

So who killed our bigwig? The characters don't seem to care, so why should we? If Gosford Park wants to be a clever murder mystery, it needs to generate at least a little suspense and make us care about the plot. Instead, the movie spends all its 137 minutes convincing us how dazzlingly intellectual it is. And you don't need me to tell you how annoying that can get.

I gave Gosford Park another shot on DVD, but still didn't have the patience for its histrionics. Still, the thing won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, so someone has to like it -- and aficionados will appreciate the deleted scenes, commentaries by Altman and writer Julian Fellows, and a couple of documentaries.

Park city.



Gosford Park

Facts and Figures

Run time: 137 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th January 2002

Box Office USA: $41.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $87.8M

Budget: $19.8M

Distributed by: USA Films

Production compaines: USA Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 122 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Mrs. Wilson, as Robert Parks, as Constance Trentham, as Louisa Stockbridge, as Ivor Novello, as Sylvia McCordle, as William McCordle, as Mary Maceachran, as Mrs. Croft, as Elsie, as Jennings, as George, as Henry Denton, as Jeremy Blond, as Inspector Thompson, as Lord Raymond Stockbridge, as Isobel McCordle, as Morris Weissman, as Freddie Nesbitt, as Lavinia Meredith, as Mabel Nesbitt, as Probert

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.