“He was a hard-hearted randy old sod”Review by Lewis Goodall
Tallyho, pip pip, spiffing core blimey crumpets. Care for a spot of tea and polo on the lawn before we hunt foxes. Right well that about does it for all the posh words I know, well all the woody sounding words anyway (if you get that reference then we can be friends). That little bit I did there essentially sums up the trip I took to Gosford Park. I wrote that so you dont have to waste 2 hours of your life. Yep, one of those reviews again.
Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman, Is the location where a hunting party takes place. Upper class ponces arrive from all over with their valets to spend a weekend at this grand establishment. As the festivities unfold, tensions rise as the paths of the upper class and the lower class cross. Worlds collide as the party turns into a game of Cluedo where an inspector comes in to investigate a grisly murder.
First off let me apologise for that previous paragraph because although that is essentially what happens, it certainly doesn’t play out as good as it sounds. I’m a big lover of mystery films, especially whodunits, have it set in one location, even better. With that formula you have 3 of my favourite films of all time, ‘Rear window’, ‘The Hateful 8’ and ‘The Thing’. I guess ‘The Thing’ isn’t really a whodunit but it’s still a mystery that plays with characters and guessing who’s who. I need to stop talking about that film and get back onto the original film which i should be talking about, although I would much rather talk about ‘The Thing’ in fact I would rather talk about anything else than Gosford park. I don’t mean that, I love ripping into films I don’t like.
So let’s start with the cast because the cast is Incredible and perfectly cast to play the upper class. We have Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, the list goes on. So with such a great cast I was getting pumped. Whodunit with this cast, yes please……. those 3 people there are the only ones that stand out and the rest of the cast is pretty dire with a script that could’ve been something special. I’m not really going over the events of the film as the way I described it are pretty much the only points to talk about that have any significance everything else is disposable. There are just so many cogs to this machine that it all becomes a bit of a boring mess. I feel with a mystery film like this or like this film claims to be should really focus on characters so that you can build an opinion on each person so it makes the mystery interesting as you try and work out who did it. Everything just gets a bit lost and there’s no way to latch onto a particular suspect. There are a few moments thrown in that you can grab hold of but ultimately there no one character that you can build with which I feel Is pretty essential.
The majority of this film is build up to a horrifically unsatisfying climax. An hour and forty minutes of foreplay to finishing prematurely if you want an analogy. This film won the Oscar for best original screenplay and I can sort of see where they are coming from but I feel it’s all let down with poor directing and even poorer acting. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of moving cogs to this so the screenplay must’ve been very complex to be able to try and capture all the characters but it fails in the final product, it’s like someone is trying to put together a 1000 piece puzzle where each piece is from a completely different puzzle. Events happen that don’t add to the story at all and seemed thrown in when they could’ve been focusing on something that would actually make this film watchable. I envy blind people as they don’t have to experience this bore train.
This film prides itself on being a whodunit so let’s talks about that. So the murder doesn’t happen until the last maybe 40 minutes of the films so the interesting part doesn’t happen until you’ve already died of boredom, god this film was boring. The murder itself is a typical stab to the chest and people screaming for a second when they discover the body. Although having a complex screenplay, it seems they forgot to write in that any of the characters have any emotion because it seems to be that once the initial shock of the murder happens, no one cares that one of them was murdered. They brush it off the same way you would if someone dropped a glass on the floor and someone cleaned it up, when it happens everyone looks, but once its cleaned up everyone forgets about it. When the Inspector comes in to investigate, they are there for around 10 minutes and don’t look into vital clues and then leave without doing a full on investigation and doesn’t care who murdered this Upper Class white male which you think back then in the 30’s they would stop at nothing to find out what happened but apparently not. It seems as though the most important aspect of the film is a side thought. Now I know that people will just say that this film if more of a character study and it’s about learning about all the characters there and the roles they play, but my argument would be…. why? Why when the characters have no motive, no backstory, no personality to want to look at. If you want a perfect film on character study then watch ’12 Angry Men’. All of the characters are so uninspiring so its pretty difficult to sit through a 2 hour long film when the only thing these people can talk about is what clothes they should wear while their staff just go “Yes my lord”. Its hard to care about who the murderer is when the murder itself is so overlooked so why should I care that one person looks more like a suspect than the rest.
God it was bad, I cant understand why people like it, maybe its just not my type of film but in general it was just very slow and had nothing to it, a lot happened with no umpf, I didn’t get attached and I feel that’s what a mystery needs but apparently it’s not a mystery so what is this film?? Just a glimpse into rich people in the 30’s, I would just watch Downton Abbey as I feel that’s a more I depth look at this life, plus it still has Maggie Smith in it.
Overall this is just a film that had a lot of potential but is let down with overcrowding with no outcome. I love a film that leaves you with questions but this film leave you with questions with answers I cant comprehend. An example of that before I score this, there is a Scottish character who is the valet to an American film maker (who in the film is talking about making a film that is a murder mystery that takes place In a house that looks like the one they’re in and in the film you’re trying to guess who the murderer is…. he’s making Gosford Park in the film? Just poor writing if you ask me, it didn’t add anything and just looked self-indulgent… I’m going off topic, end bracket). So this Scottish valet goes sleeping around with the upper class ladies the whole film and at the end you learn that he’s actually an American actor who’s been putting on a voice? I guess you’re meant to suspect its him but… hang on, spoiler warning, you can skip to the next paragraph if you want to watch this for someone reason… so it’s not him that did it, so why did he put on a voice for the whole film, it’s made no sense.
It’s just a boring experience, boring boring boring, atleast have an explosion, dramatic death of a shape shifting alien that takes the appearance of its victims In order to blend in with the crowd!! I’m going onto ‘The Thing’ again…. dont watch Godford Park, I did it so you dont have to. Unless you like watching people act as though they are a kids school production where they are all trying to sound posh.
Oh yeah and i guessed the murderer as well, there wasnt even a great twist because it was an easy guess so I cant even latch onto that as a good thing.