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Just Average48.08%
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6 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Winslow Boy, The
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by iF Magazine

"A subdued and sharply interesting vision of drama."
4 stars

Superficially, David Mametís new film THE WINSLOW BOY, based on a genteel play by Terence Rattigan and previously filmed in 1950, seems like the sharpest of diversions from probably todayís most incisive writer/directors.

While some of Mametís previous directing efforts have been met with mild praise (THE SPANISH PRISONER, OLEANNA) and a few raves (THE HOUSE OF GAMES) his work as a playwright has galvanized the attentions of two generations. If you can find one indie filmmaker or fan who doesnít rave about Alec Baldwinís scene in the film version of Mametís Pulitzer Prize winning play GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, I can show you a poser so astounding as to make perennial hack like Philip Noyce (CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, THE SAINT) look like an auteur on the level of Hitchcock himself.

But with the names dropped and the context set, a deeper look at Mametís BOY reveals a more serene frame around the same Mamet picture -- that of a person struggling at the point where their mind and best intentions meet a world as likely to break as to praise them for their efforts.

The protagonist, if there is one, is Nigel Hawthorneís Arthur Winslow, an upper-middle class gentleman in London in the days leading to World War I. His life and past labors are thrown into chaos when he fights for the honor of his youngest son, whoís been accused of stealing although he promises his daddy he hasnít. Drawn into this struggle are Winslowís daughter Catherine (played too matter-of-factly by Mamet favorite and wife Rebecca Pidgeon) and infamous conservative London lawyer Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam).

While in this era of trial by hyperbole in the media raging around him, Mametís subtle reworking of Rattiganís play leaves the quieter, more interestingly out of our time elements of the story in -- after all, the only thing at stake is a boyís reputation. Even at the lowest moment of the action, the worst thing that officials at the boyís school do is expel the Winslow boy, but itís in Mametís clear vision of expressing the traits and trials of another era that makes WINSLOW such a reprieve from the Dolby pounding of modern cinema (much of which I like, donít get me wrong).

Those expecting to hear Mametís panted dialogue by way of jackhammer will be disappointed, but those looking for a subtle drama have their movie plans for the week made. It is only a further understanding of his craft that Mamet excises himself in lieu of letting the natural story, and Rattiganís already great words, show through.

And it does take time to show through. Hawthorneís role in particular is that of ever so slow deterioration, while his wife Gemma Jonesí ruminations on the worth of dispensing the family fortune to clear a child, highlight his solitude borne of ideals. Beyond that, for a courtroom drama, there is not one courtroom scene.

In the end, especially for those indie types predisposed to conclude a movie with a gritty gunfight rather than a graceful witticism, Mamet provides an accessible if off beat introduction into a more subdued, and sharply interesting vision of drama.-- CHRISTOPHER ALLAN SMITH

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=236&reviewer=119
originally posted: 02/22/01 23:37:10
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User Comments

10/28/07 mb loved it. Intelligent dialogue. Great acting. One of the best movies. 5 stars
6/18/06 chienne I did this play at school, this is an excellent film 5 stars
7/27/05 B.McGinnis Excellent, Memorable, Believalble 5 stars
11/20/04 Damson I saw the other version of this film and I believe it is better, though it's not bad. 3 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Sometimes simple is the best. 4 stars
9/28/02 Peter Sherlock Good stuff! 5 stars
8/29/02 chirpy well acted portrayal of search for justice at high cost 4 stars
11/17/01 Monster W. Kung Simply excellent. 5 stars
9/11/01 Reini Urban With "Land and Freedom" best british film since 30 years ("The Servant") 5 stars
2/13/00 toneely I loved this movie 5 stars
10/06/99 Mairi Thomas Superb acting, powerfully evocative of a time when greater justice was emerging for all. 5 stars
7/10/99 William McGrane This is a terrific movie. Pidgeon is wonderful. 5 stars
7/02/99 Costars Lovged it! Thought it was beautiful & subtle. Delighted it ended well. Too much Mamet. 4 stars
5/10/99 IF Magazine Those expecting a Mamet dialogue jackhammer will be disappointed. It's a lot more subtle. 4 stars
5/10/99 Mr Showbiz Whichever way you look at it, Mamet's adaption of Rattigan's famous play is a triumph. 5 stars
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  30-Apr-1999 (R)


  15-Jul-1999 (M)

Directed by
  David Mamet

Written by
  David Mamet
  Terence Rattigan

  Nigel Hawthorne
  Rebecca Pidgeon
  Jeremy Northam
  Gemma Jones

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