HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen
Porky’s II: The Next Day
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
211
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Traffik
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
Crowhurst
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Loophole
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Gringo
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
   
 
Newest Articles
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
   
 
  Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, The A Nasty Piece Of WorkBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Alan Howard, Tim Roth, Ciarán Hinds, Gary Olsen, Ewan Stewart, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Ron Cook, Liz Smith, Emer Gillespie, Janet Henfrey, Ian Dury, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Alex Kingston, Diane Langton
Genre: Horror, Drama, Romance
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) is not a very nice man, in fact he's a gangster who has bullied his way through life and is now one of the most powerful of his kind in London. Tonight he's showing his displeasure to one restaurant owner who is heavily in debt to him until he swiftly gained the upper hand, and after shoving dogshit down his throat and stripping him naked to smear him with more of the stuff, Albert stalks into his new restaurant, The Hollandaise, where the head chef Richard Borst (Richard Bohringer) prepares him his finest meals as Albert's wife Georgina (Helen Mirren) bites her tongue...

With The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover writer and director Peter Greenaway conjured what many saw as not only his most extreme film to that date, but also his most accomplished. Many of these people would not have been caught dead watching a slasher movie or splattery gore flick, yet because Greenaway had the kudos of being artistic in his corner, he managed to get away with some of the tawdriest imagery outside of a Lucio Fulci horror movie here. Some actual fans of horror movies might have been aggrieved if they stopped to think about the mixed messages the esteem works such as Greenaway's were held in by the cognoscenti.

Although equally they may have appreciated the sense of catharsis on offer in this effort, as if watching something which mixed the relentlessly highbrow with the just as relentlessly revolting was a way of getting something out of your system, and if nothing else Greenaway designed his visuals to within an inch of their lives. That may have been all very well, but with rumours of the actual theme of the movie being a railing against Thatcherism, you could perceive something a lot more objectionable than Albert's scatalogical, sexually obscene pantomime villainy and that was a distinct snobbery. It was as if the film was not resisting the profligacy this new money was encouraging, but a lower class of person it was raising to the level of the upper classes.

Yet not in the tastes of the upper classes, just in what they spent their money on: it was the aspirational Greenaway had his sights set on, the nouveau riche who with horrified exaggeration could never appreciate the finest of art, food and wine the way an aesthete like your typical Greenaway fan could. Therefore the horror was more one of witnessing the proverbial bull in the china shop, these coarse, uncouth but freshly moneyed boors riding roughshod through areas of rarified and exquisite culture, though at the same time getting a barely admitted thrill out of revelling in their horrendousness at the arm's length watching a movie could supply. Albert is so over the top, so sustained in his evil thanks to Gambon's pitch of his performance, that he could have slotted right into the most repellent of shockers without a problem.

As for the other characters in the title, they had to put up with his behaviour until they just could stand no more, I tell you, and forced him into his comeuppance. The Wife notices one of the other diners (respected stage actor Alan Howard) across the restaurant who has caught her eye by doing something absolutely bizarre in Spica's presence: he is reading a book. Thus captivated, they begin to make excuses to visit the bathroom together, and embark on an affair which offers her a release from her hellish life with her husband, but we can tell is doomed from the start as it's only a matter of time before Albert finds out. When he does, it's time for Greenaway to amp up the ultraviolence, which may make for compelling cinema almost in spite of itself, but exhibited a selection of cheap tactics in pillorying the type of person Greenaway deigned beneath him, and invited the audience to languish in his artificial and high falutin' observations through his bloody and transgressive methods. Michael Nyman's music is equally unyielding.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1113 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
   

 

Last Updated: