Gosford Park (2001)
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Very layered murder mystery with a very plausible story-line, inserted into a uniquely detailed examination of pre-WWII British high and low society. While it was long it never felt long, brilliant casting, great writing.
Robert Altman's Gosford Park is a stately mansion drama and an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, but the twist is that it's perceived by the manor's servants. In only 2¼ hours, we get to know a cast of both upstairs and downstairs characters surprisingly well, and they've all got secrets. The pieces come together in the audience's mind before they're ever explained on screen (and some aren't). In fact, I wish the murder HADN'T been explained, because I think the audience CAN figure it out, just as if we were a member of the household. It's brilliant cast that includes wonderful actors in the smallest of parts, including Derek Jacobi, Kelly MacDonald, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, and on and on and on. The world of the downstairs is a real revelation, and Julian Fellowes' script is entirely witty and well observed. It feels like a great concept for a TV show, and that thought led me to realize that of course it is. Fellowes went on to create Downton Abbey. So that's something else I've got to get into straight away.
Almost a remake of "La Règle du jeu" from Jean Renoir
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #91 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #271 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #351 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #367 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #430 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees