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Posted by gustav at 02:01PM, Saturday, December 01st, 2001

Gosford Park

Good acting. A good cast, doing more than resting on their laurels. It's like we've travelled back in time to 1992!

1. The whole bit with the American was a little over the top. It's worse to be American than to murder one's employer. Or than fucking the servants. Although, of course, he couldn't say that, after trying to seduce the maid and moving on to the lady of the house. This could have been pointed and funny, but it just came off wrong.

2. I'm a perky new lady's maid, and I'm going to solve a murder. Next, I'll start a 90s girl-power band.

3. Where the hell was the motivation for the son to kill his father? Was it pent-up rage, or something more... specific? He doesn't seem very well-integrated into the plot. And how the hell does Helen Mirren anticipate his actions? I sure couldn't. I need more to go on to believe she can just intuit everything.

4. In the end, the annoying thing is that Gosford Park comes so close, with such good acting. There are really so few likable parts, and so many damn people and subplots (what purpose did the two younger men who arrived late serve? Or the couple with the tall blond husband?). I wanted very much to like this movie, and the acting and care that's taken is quite extraordinary when you compare it to -- well, any overwrought, overreviewed piece of American underachievement that's come out in the last year. I'm coming down pretty hard on this movie -- after all, there wasn't a tenth of the self-satisfaction and preciousness that annoyed me so much in In the Bedroom. And this is a movie that demonstrates why I say Americans, almost without exception, cannot compete with Brits when it comes to acting. But, in the end, it just doesn't come together quite right. Which is a shame.

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