Mark Reviews Movies

The Party (2018)

THE PARTY (2018)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Sally Potter

Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy

MPAA Rating: R (for language and drug use)

Running Time: 1:11

Release Date: 2/16/18 (limited); 2/23/18 (wider)

Bookmark and Share     Become a fan on Facebook Become a fan on Facebook     Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Review by Mark Dujsik | February 22, 2018

Without the credits, The Party is a bit over an hour long. This is too long to be trapped with this group of so-called friends, as they argue, bicker, and fight through a dinner party from a hell of their own creation.

The message of writer/director Sally Potter's movie is that every one of these characters is awful in his or her own way—a message that we receive loud and clear well before one character almost kills another one. It's a miserable experience, filled with characters who constantly have to show off how intelligent they are, seem to revel equally in the virtue of being the wronged party and in the glee of wronging someone else, and probably should have called it a night at the third sign of irreconcilable trouble.

The minor saving graces come from the performances of the movie's cast, who include Kristin Scott Thomas as Janet, the hostess of the party who recently received a promotion in Parliament, and Timothy Spall as Bill, Janet's seemingly supportive but obviously frustrated husband. The guests are Janet's cynical friend April (Patricia Clarkson), her cliché-spouting ex-partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), Bill's longtime friend Martha (Cherry Jones, who stands out for making her character seem like the most human of the bunch, instead of a caricature), and her wife Jinny (Emily Mortimer). Completing the bunch is a financer named Tom (Cillian Murphy), who shows up with a vial of cocaine, a desire for revenge, and a handgun.

These are all, obviously, very fine actors, and there's a certain morbid appeal in watching their characters passive-aggressively or openly snipe at each other with detached or theatrical precision. The appeal is there, if only for a while, that is.

Once the gears of Potter's melodramatic plot start into motion, though, it becomes little more than an over-the-top soap opera, in which current affairs and past sexual trysts are revealed, relationships falls apart, a terminal diagnosis comes to light, and the gun goes through a series of motions to wind up in the hands that held it at the movie's start. The Party ends with a punch line of sorts, intended to complete the circle of the characters' deep hypocrisy. Like the rest of the movie, it is shallow, cheap, and doesn't reveal anything we didn't already know about the true nature of these characters.

Copyright © 2018 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

Back to Home

Buy Related Products

In Association with