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Play (2001)

7.6
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The land is filled with people in urns chattering at top speed, but only to themselves, not to one another. The focus goes to three people: a man, his mistress and his wife.

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The land is filled with people in urns chattering at top speed, but only to themselves, not to one another. The focus goes to three people: a man, his mistress and his wife.

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Drama | Short | Fantasy

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14 July 2001 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Beckett: Näytelmä  »

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Bizarre - funny, desperate, surreal
13 March 2008 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

This is a filmed play; one must judge it as such. Minghella's rapid reaction camera takes the place of stage direction for a spotlight. But that's about it. The full 16 minutes (8 mins of script with the instruction to repeat) are played out with little intervention from the director, save cutting or inter-focusing between the three talking heads and mixing head-shot with super-closeup.

The three characters live out a collapsing love-triangle. Is it happening now? Are they living over what has already happened? Is this a dramatised overview of what always happens? These are all valid questions as the script is delivered, overlapping, at barely digestible speed. Juliet Stevenson (the mistress) is the most interesting, allowed a full expressive range throughout her role, including a flash-dispatched orgasm. Most hilarious is Rickman's man-at-the-centre (literally as well) who retreats into talk of tea when he's not got the hiccups - an important element, this impediment, as it has the same worth of content given the monotone delivery. Kristin Scott-Thomas' trademark 'disinterest' makes up the trio.

I like Minghella's top-n-tail affectation of the rushes cards, which brings into relief the 'play' suggestion of the title. Is this a record of the consequential comeuppance coming for the characters? Or is it simply as valid a circumstance as the next for working out the old rite of cheating relations? 6/10


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