The Party - This Dark Dinner Party Of A Movie Rocks The Dishes
Dir: Sally Potter
Starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, Emily Mortimer, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones
After a five year gap, Sally Potter returns with a brief but beautifully sour piece of dinner party black comedy.
Scott Thomas is the woman cooking dinner and greeting guests to celebrate her just becoming Minister for Health in the Shadow Cabinet. Spall is her husband, playing his vinyl like the hours were running out, with a lost expression, a large glass of red and some dramatic revelations on his mind. Enter the likes of Clarkson as queen bee/bitch of the whole thing, lesbian couple Mortimer and Jones here to announce their triplet surrogacy inside of Mortimer, and Murphy, who arrives awash with sweat, hoovering up coke like it was going out of fashion and carrying a gun – for what or whom we know not. In other words, all is as upper middle class North London as you can get. And, true to the adage, Potter shows us a gun in Act One, so, in true Chekhovian/Hitchcockian style, we know things are not going to go well.
Clocking in at a remarkably modest 71 minutes running time, and beautifully shot in black and white by previous Potter collaborator Aleksei Rodionov, Potter’s slight but delightful film unravels splendidly as the titular event comes undone. All the cast excel, even if Clarkson and Murphy appear to be having the most fun, and the whole thing could almost be a classic farce in its delivery if it were not confronting such serious undertones in the lives and relationships of those in attendance.
And whilst you won’t notice the brevity of its passing by, you will certainly remember, and take delight, in its ending.
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