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A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 May 1990 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,590 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 34 critic

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving the car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Andréa Ferréol ...
Brian Deacon ...
Eric Deacon ...
...
Venus de Milo
...
Van Hoyten
Jim Davidson ...
Joshua Plate
Agnès Brulet ...
Beta Bewick
Guusje van Tilborgh ...
Caterina Bolnes
Gerard Thoolen ...
Van Meegeren
Ken Campbell ...
Stephen Pipe
Wolf Kahler ...
Felipe Arc-en-Ciel
...
Fallast
...
Documentary Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving the car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin brother Oswald is researching how carcasses decay at the local zoo. Alba survives the accident although she loses one leg, and her sinister physician eventually removes the other 'because it looked so sad all alone'. Oswald and Oliver become involved in a menage a trois with Alba, and uncover very dubious trafficking in zoo property. But ultimately their only goal is to try and understand their mortal condition. Written by Dan Ellis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

grief | decay | twin | leg | animal | See All (139) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zoo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

References to Greek Mythology: Alba Bewick is referred to as 'Leda' (in Greek mythology, Leda gave birth to twins Castor & Pollux after being seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan); in the film, Alba decides to name the twins she gives birth to as 'Castor & Pollydeuces' (in reference to the mythological Gemini twins Castor & Pollux). See more »

Quotes

Alba Bewick: I am about to become a mother, and you are about to become a father... or fathers.
Oswald Deuce: You what?
Oliver Deuce: You are?
Alba Bewick: I am.
Oswald Deuce: Good lord.
Oliver Deuce: You can?
Alba Bewick: Of course! Is leglessness a form of contraception?
Oswald Deuce: I'm not sure.
Alba Bewick: You're not sure!
Oswald Deuce: I'm delighted!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Exploding Girl (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

An Elephant Never Forgets
Music by 'The Happy Farmer' (Opus 68, No.10) by Robert Schumann
Performed by Lupino Lane with The BBC Dance Orchestra
Directed by Henry Hall
Courtesy of EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING LTD and EMI RECORDS LTD
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Annoying and interesting in equal measure
5 May 2015 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

For better or for worse, A Zed & Two Noughts is a very unusual film. This is hardly surprising given that it was directed by the avant-gardist director Peter Greenaway. It begins with a car accident at a zoo, where two women are killed when their vehicle collides with a pregnant swan. These women are twins who were in turn married to a couple of twin zoologists, Oliver and Oswald Deuce. Shortly afterwards these men start simultaneous affairs with the survivor of the accident, the driver Alba Bewick who lost a leg as a result of the crash. She later has the other one removed surgically for symmetrical reasons and falls pregnant to the twins.

This strange film features both the good and the bad typical of Greenaway. The good is the visual presentation and distinctive bizarre qualities, the bad is more or less any time someone opens their mouths, which unfortunately is quite often. Greenaway is really terrible at writing dialogue. His script constantly tries to be clever, which is not the same thing as actually being clever. Needless to say, the dialogue is painful to listen to and ultimately makes the film hard work and not in a good way. But setting this aside, amongst other thing, it's an intriguing concoction about symmetry, birth and decay. Of the latter are several time-lapse films showing a variety of animals and organic matter decaying – films which were fascinating and repulsive in equal measure. We also have excellent cinematography from Greenaway's common collaborator Sacha Vierney, with many shots being a joy to behold. The other significant cog in the wheel is the typically persistent minimalist score from Michael Nyman, which is sometimes brilliant even if it does border on irritating at others. We also have the most unexpected collaborator in any Greenaway film – none other than Jim 'Nick Nick' Davidson, the politically incorrect stand-up comedian who appears as a zoo-keeper.

In summary, A Zed & Two Noughts was an interesting film spoiled by Greenaway's horrible dialogue and awful characters. If you can get beyond those it does offer some fascinating stuff but you sure have got your work cut out with this one.


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