Monday, June 06, 2005

Enjoy this movie... with subtitles!

There is something about the British accent that defies definition, no offence intended. Here are the people who supposedly (or is it supposably?) invented/developed the English language but watch a British movie or a movie filled with British characters and chances are a lot of the dialogue will go over your head...Interesting?

The movie I'm talking about right now is Robert Altman's Gosford Park, touted as an Agatha Christie style murder mystery but in reality is a not-so-subtle satire of the class system in England in the early 20th century. We have all the right ingredients for a murder mystery though: a gathering of friends and relatives in the manor of a wealthy Englishman who is, of course, murdered by the end of the evening. Everyone has a motive, whether it is money, hatred or jealousy. Whodunit?

But the murder is more a distraction than the focus of the movie as we see how the lives of the 'upstairs' people (the aristocrats) differ from that of the 'downstairs' people (the maids and the butlers), including the way that they react to the murder. The people 'upstairs' are worried about how the murder is going to affect their daily routine while those 'downstairs' are worried that they'll have more work to do if the guests are forced to stay on because of the murder investigation!

The movie is populated by a veritable who's-who of British cinema with the likes of Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren...and has so many British accents and characters that either a rewatch or subtitles is called for! But once you get into it, this movie is very absorbing and a lot of fun!!


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