Friday, August 22, 2008

Keeping Mum

I know that British dark comedies are not for everyone, but this Niall Johnson is one very dark comedy that perhaps some of you could enjoy as much as I did as not only has a very unexpected third act, but also has great performances by Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas and a serious not Mr. Bean alike performance by Rowan Atkinson.

This is not a comedy where you will laugh out of silly sketches, as has the off-hand peculiar humorous way of very-very dark Brit comedies and what makes it remarkable is that portraits murder exactly in that peculiar way.

I was totally surprised to find here Patrick Swayze with a good performance as he does an almost perfect caricature of an American golf pro. As a movie it has good tech specs that do not distract of whatever is happening in the screen, which is highly appreciated.

The movie tells about a quite dysfunctional family of old-fashioned vicar Walter Goodfellow (Atkinson) who has become too busy and is paying not much attention to his family, so his wife Gloria (Kristin Scott Thomas) to compensate his lack of attention has an affair with an American golf pro (Swayze), his nineteen years-old daughter is changing boyfriends as she changes clothes and his young son is targeted by school bullies. But everything changes with the arrival of the new housekeeper Grace (Maggie Smith) that we see in the beginning of the film as a young woman that is convicted for killing her husband and his lover. What follows you have to see it as the story slowly unravels itself up to about the last half hour where the unexpected revelation makes the story rush into the end in the most brilliant way.

This is pure fun to watch movie that one critic compared to a vintage episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and after reading his review I find that this movie truly feels and looks like those old TV episodes… only in color and with excellent British performers.

Kristin Scott Thomas performance is truly brilliant in my opinion, as I have seldom seen her in role like this one that got her a nomination for the ALFS Award as British Actress of the Year at the 2006 London Critics Circle Film Awards. Also the screenplay by Niall Johnson and Richard Russo won the Film Discovery Jury Award at the 2006 US Comedy Arts Festival.

If you really like British very dark comedies I strongly suggest you do not miss this gem of a comedy with extraordinary actors performances.


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