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The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on October 10, 2011

It seems that if I want Greenaway on Blu-Ray, I have to import it.  First the British release of A Zed and Two Noughts, and now the Mexican release of this.  His most famous (and arguably most accessible despite some rather extreme subject matter and imagery) film could be read as a condemnation of Thatcherite policies or simply as a exceedingly stylish study of evil.  Either way, it’s magnificent in how it combines the glorious and the repulsive.  The music and visual design are transcendent, with gorgeous use of color and the widescreen frame.  But the behavior of Albert Spica is utterly vile, you could even accuse it of being cartoonish if the rest of the film weren’t also dressed in artifice.  Gambon immerses himself in the role of one of the most boorish, violent, megalomaniacal characters to ever grace the screen.  It’s a powerful performance that would threaten to dominate the proceedings, but the aesthetic aspects of the film (as well as the other actors, including the always fine Helen Mirren) keep pace, making him part of this heightened, brutal reality.  I’m not entirely on board with the ending, if only because I don’t think Spica would be so reluctant to do the deed he’s forced into.  But otherwise I think it’s a terrific work.  Rating: Great


One Response to “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (rewatch)”

  1. […] 46. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, Peter Greenaway) […]

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