Reviewed bycharliemcginty-48314Vote: 9/10/10
A richly dark social satire by Sally Potter moves in real time in thehome (Islington, maybe??) of uber couple Janet (Kristen Scott Thomas)and Bill (Timothy Spall), who are hosting a small intimate gathering offriends to celebrate her promotion as Shadow Minister of Health. Bill,an acclaimed academic, however, is preoccupied and increasinglyinebriated as he works through his old vinyl record collection, whileJanet prepares food and takes calls from well- wishers. Guests start toarrive, and a wonderfully eclectic liberal and north London lot seem tobe assembling. There is acerbic American, April (Patricia Clarkson) andher new age boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz); Martha (Cherry Jones) anacademic colleague of Bill's and her much younger heavily pregnantwife, Jinny (Emily Mortimer), and then a palpitating mass of turmoilthat is Tom (Cillian Murphy) the 'wanker banker' arrives, rushing tosnort coke in the bathroom and then assuring everybody with muchperspiration that his lovely wife, Marianne, Janet's assistant, isdelayed but will arrive soon or maybe by Coffee! Although all haveseemingly come to praise Janet, each seems to be carrying their owndramatic news; seemingly everyone has secrets. Bill makes his ownannouncement, which is the catalyst for an escalation towards all- outconfrontation; the canapes can go up in smoke and the gathering offriends begins to unravel. All of this wonderful fayre is crammed intoa breakneck 71 minute, single act, black and white, ensemble piecethroughout which Scott Thomas is in devastating form as she deals andthen doesn't, conceals and then reveals much ado about plenty! It maybe a view of the social elite, the political class, the insiders, butit shines a much needed light onto the human condition and our capacityto surprise one another. This ensemble are hilarious with belly laughout loud moments (I'm sure the way I was laughing was a codeviolation), witty one liners aplenty. The caustic and chaotic interplayis a joy to behold and this film zips along totally in tune and endswith a wonderful twist.
Reviewed byeuroGaryVote: 8/10/10
The middle-class dinner party in which the thin veneer of politesociety is ripped away to expose the dog-eat-dog savagery underneathhas provided ample fodder for playwrights since probably the birth oftheatre, but films in which such a gathering is the sole focus arerarer. So step forward British auteur Sally Potter.
Having been appointed Shadow Minister for Health, Janet (Kristen ScottThomas) and her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) throw a celebratory dinnerparty for their friends: the acerbic April (Patricia Clarkson) and(played by Bruno Ganz) her new age partner Gottfried ("prick anaromatherapist and you'll find a fascist" says April); lesbianprofessor Martha and her 'Masterchef' runner-up partner Jinny(Emily Mortimer), who is carrying their purchased foetuses ("babies areborn every day, in large numbers - large enough to put our planet atrisk" is April's unsentimental but accurate comment). Banker Tom(Cillian Murphy) arrives with his wife's apologies: she will be alonglater. Thus the stage is set, but when a champagne cork shatters awindow it is an omen that this will be a dinner party none of theattendees will soon forget.
Trendy lefties who spend too much time thinking are an open goal whenit comes to comedy, with their talk of 'post-post-feminism' and theirprofessorships in Utopian Americanism, and Potter does not miss thetarget in her - I suspect affectionate - mickey-taking. There isnothing original in this - not even the 'twist' at the end - but thefilm is so entertaining that does not matter (with one exception: whenbanker Tom heads to the bathroom to snort cocaine I rolled my eyes -just once I would like to see a fictional young banker who *does not*have a coke habit: don't any of them simply put the kettle on?)
There is good acting all around: Clarkson gets all the best lines -albeit at the expense of depth of character - but that merely makes theothers work harder with the lines they have been given. Thomas, whosecharacter is the most fully-formed, is noteworthy.
At just over seventy minutes this is rather a short film. Quite whyPotter decided to make it in black-and-white I do not know - extrafilmsnob points I suppose. But it is hugely entertaining and I lookforward to seeing it again. (After all, any film which lists in thecredits 'production dog' *must* be good!)
Reviewed byPjtaylor-96-138044Vote: 6/10/10
'The Party', which tells the tale of a dinner party awkwardly goneawry, plays out in real time and relies solely on the dynamics betweenits seven core characters, who here deliver dialogue that mostly doesthat debatably grounding and realistic thing of actually being aboutquote unquote 'nothing' - swapping Tarantino's signature pop culturespewing style with one that focuses on the main socio-economic andpolitical views of modern Britain (issues which have their place andneed to be talked about but are here used as filler); while it isfairly entertaining for the majority of its very short run-time, onceyou look back on the overall narrative it feels somewhat empty (anddare I say unnecessary) especially when you know where it leaves offand how many of its seemingly insignificant plot strands are simplyleft dangling, though as a darkly satirical piece there are a few nicemoments which stand out from the otherwise forgettable picture which istechnically very well conceived to feel as though an encounter onemight have at an unfortunate New Years Eve party. 6/10
Janet hosts a party to celebrate her new promotion, but once the guests arrive it becomes clear that not everything is going to go down as smoothly as the red wine.