HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Teddy
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, The A Nasty Piece Of Work
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, RomanceBuy from Amazon
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 2370 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: