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@stanmarsh There's a 'right way' to do British drama??..... ;)
Despite the cast, this is an American attempt for a British drama. Failed at every turn. The only consolation is that the actors done their job very well.
I only wanted to watch this because Kelly Macdonald was in it, but I was pretty good. Great cast of actors.
Really - I have never been one to watch period pieces, but just these last few weeks I have been in quite a mood to watch them.

To summarize:

Emma & Sense and Sensibility - Very adorable, feel-good movies. Yes, yes - I know there are some tears, but you know it will have a happy ending.

Gosford Park - Although I can appreciate Robert Altman I've never been a huge fan. I did enjoy this one very much - great cast and great storyline.

Pride and Prejudice - Started off this whole spell I'm sure, because I loved this one. Even though it's 5+ hours, I watched it in one sitting.

Girl With the Pearl Earring - Colin Firth said that this was definitely not a departure from his usual roles. Serious man with hidden tenderness doesn't quite know how to deal with love. Although I found the ending depressing, it wasn't overly so. Overall - very good.
Is there anyone out there who completely understood the various accents and dialects in this movie? I completely enjoy watching this film, except for some plot convolutions and accent problems.

For instance, which one is the Commander? Is he related to another of the guests? Why on earth would Louisa be even mildly attracted to Sir William?

Were Lady Sylvia and the Commander having an affair? Was it really necessary for the assistant policeman to be so mean to the butler? And why wasn't Maggie Smith's irritating character killed instead of Sir William?!

All in all, a good movie, and great shots of an English country manor house.

Most modern movies seem to have a hard time putting together one or two three-dimensional characters.

Flying in the face of this trend is Robert Altman's Gosford Park, which treats the viewer to a myriad of at least a dozen well-developed characters who make a second viewing almost a necessity.

The scene is set in November 1932 at the mansion of Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) and Lady Sylvia McCordle (Kristin Scott Thomas.) They're having a shooting party, and they've invited just about everyone they know for the evening. Serving these upper-crust guests are the McCordles' help, a group of oppressed cleaning ladies, butlers and cooks who hide their resentment of the privileged behind thin veils, if at all.

As the servants sit at their own small table and rubberneck to get a look at the fun the others are having, the viewer gets to bridge the gap and see both sides. While the movie doesn't have any explosions or expose any skin, it's the dialogue that packs the punch, making each character a person in their own right.

One example is a line from Sir William's sister, Constance (Maggie Smith,) who says to Hollywood star Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam) when he balks at giving away the ending to his new movie, "but it's not like any of us are going to see it." Smith somehow manages to shine among a host of stars in this one, packing the ever-blunt Constance with a spark that makes her irresistible to watch.

The party hits a snag, though, when a murder takes place and, all of a sudden, there is an entire group of suspects. Putting a twist on the crime is the fact that the body was stabbed after it had just been poisoned, meaning there were two homicidally-minded people in the house that night.

Inspector Thompson (Stephen Fry) shows up quickly with his assistant Constable Dexter (Ron Webster) and almost immediately shows his incompetence, ignoring evidence and not interviewing any of the servants. As the investigation gets botched, the movie bui

lds in suspense as the viewer waits to see who will be uncovered as the murderer. A surprising ending is a payoff worth the effort needed to sift through all these characters and figure out each one's motivations.

The film has garnered several Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Art Direction, Costume Design and Writing (Original Screenplay.) Helen Mirren and Smith were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Robert Altman for Best Director.

Between the intricate plot, the sensational screenplay and the downplayed acting within each role, Gosford Park is truly a film worth experiencing. It comes off just like a Broadway play, and Altman should take a bow.

Rating: A-
The first time I watched this film it was 8 o'clock and about 30 mins into it I was dead asleep, the second time I fell asleep about 1 hour into the movie. It wasn't until the third time that I watched the whole film and then I wished that I had fallen asleep. This is posibly one of the most boring, slow moving films that ultimately leads to a slighty explained ending and a horrid plot twist. This films only real amazement is from the acting which is extremely well done but acting can't save a film especially one as dull as this.
Very good movie and very very well acted. Set in the 1930s this is a real study on human nature. The rich and the not rich, the snobs and the servents. With some murder mystery to boot. If you get a chance watch this on dvd not TV.

Myselft 9 out of 10
Wife 9 out of 10
* this movie was ridiculous. don't rent it, God forbid you buy it. the only thing that got me through this film was ryan whatever his name is.
Best in Show: Dame Maggie Smith
One for the future: Kelly McDonald
Stand-out scene: Norvello at piano segment
Brainer or no-brainer: Brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: Repeated
DVD commentary any good?: Excellent

25 subplots jostle for screentime in this savourable addition to the Robert Altman cannon of filmmaking excellence. In an age when no-brainer actioners struggle to offer up even one discernable plotline, this outstanding combination of creme de la creme cast, top drawer (Oscar-winning) screenplay and genius director is a beacon of greatness amid an ocean of dross. Set over the weekend of a Shooting Party at an English stately home in the late 20s it's a gripping examination of life both above and below stairs, each with its own system of heirarchy and dependence on social etiquette and gossip. A murder mystery occupies only the second half of the movie (what other director would have the kahunas for that??!!), with Stephen Fry's detective bringing comic relief to the heartbreaking revelations that surface at the country pile over two days. As Altman acknowledges in his brilliant commentary, you really need to view this at least twice to catch every nuance of the intricate plot. And I loved the detail that he included the regulatory number of f-words to ensure that this would get an R rating in the States to ensure that only those with an appreciation of the subject matter could gain entry. Altman - nearing his Seventies and still a vital director.
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