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The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover back to product details

a terrible, luscious universe under glass
written by figtree December 23, 2004 - 2:19 PM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
The film is notorious for walk-outs by viewers unable to-- ahem-- stomach its violent intensity.

However, beyond the revolting scenes waits an elegant and warm vision of human courage, richly imagined and perfectly detailed.

Many naive viewers assume that any prominent character in a film is a protagonist, a vehicle for the director's viewpoint on the world.

But Spica, the thief, is not the heart of this film.

To borrow the gastronomic allegory of the movie, he is its bile, its rotten liver, its perpetual indigestion.

The achievement of this film is to show, beneath their bruises and understandable trembling, the amazing strength of the cook, the wife and the lover (not to mention the kitchen boy) in circumstances that are shown to overwhelm even hardened gangsters.

The acting, down to the smallest gesture or facial expression, especially from Helen Mirren (in a masterpiece performance as the wife, Georgina), is pitch-perfect throughout.

When Richard, the cook, slowly describes his recollections of his parents' love affair to the despairing Georgina, the slow hypnotic whipping of the kitchen fan is the only motion onscreen, yet the cook's voice alone is enough to convey the quixotic persistence of human belief, creativity and compassion in the face of all that is dense, ugly and-- ahem-- despicable in the world.

The art direction, cinematography and costuming are some of the very finest ever filmed. The soundscape comprised of the haunting minimalist soundtrack and ingeniously captured sound-effects is nothing short of magical.

It takes great psychological insight to capture the fiendishly controlling persona of Spica accurately, but even greater insight to convincingly portray how wit and gentleness can endure that obscene childishness and retain the strength to resist.

A pure feast!
written by Trinchera November 19, 2003 - 8:38 AM PST
6 out of 10 members found this review helpful
I'll start with a disclaimer: This film is NOT for everyone! Essentially, it's an operatic lesson in immorality. It also looks incredible, you can't take your eyes off the frame. It also contains acts of shocking depravity so if you think you have the stomach for it, rent this film. Even if you don't like it, you can't deny that it's excellent!

written by MrBlingBling March 6, 2002 - 8:54 PM PST
0 out of 29 members found this review helpful
Not down with any movie were a man... we'll you just got to see it to believe it. But they said it tasted good?!?!?! food food food and more food.


(Average 7.00)
488 Votes
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