Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Twenty-five years after Orlando brought her international art-house success, Sally Potter shows she’s lost none of her scabrous wit, her deep political convictions or her acute visual sense with this star-studded comedy.
When a newly appointed British cabinet minister (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her academic husband (Timothy Spall) invite some of her most acid-tongued, comically contemptible friends—including Cillian Murphy, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer and Cherry Jones—to a celebratory dinner, those subjects that aren’t to be discussed in polite company start being hurled around like pies in a food fight, leading to some shocking and life-altering revelations—not to mention blood on the floor… Delightfully ill-mannered, wickedly dry and wildly entertaining, Potter’s decidedly political jape is gorgeously shot in black and white by legendary Russian cinematographer Aleksei Rodionov, cinematographer for Elem Klimov’s Come and See as well as Potter’s Orlando. The stark visuals prove a perfect counterpoint to the hilarious verbal barbs and the seething resentments that lie just beneath the surface of things, making for an unforgettable small gem of a satire.
"Potter’s zestiest work in ages… A deliciously heightened, caviar-black comedy that sets up its brittle, bourgeois characters like bowling pins and gleefully knocks them down in 71 minutes flat… [This is a] consummate drawing-room divertissement, played with relish by a dream ensemble."—Guy Lodge, Variety