Present day. Politics. The Party written and directed by Sally Potter (Orlando, Ginger and Rosa) is set in the London, suburban home of Bill (Timothy Spall) and Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas). In honour of Janet’s achievement of acquiring the position of Shadow Health Secretary, reading between the lines, my guess would be that she is a Labour Minister, the couple, well Janet, decide to throw a dinner party for their nearest and dearest.
April (Patricia Clarkson) Janet’s oldest friend, the cynic of the group, is the first to arrive with her partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) an incredibly Zen German, yes, I though that was rather good too. April has the zinger one-liners, and she congratulates Janet on her position, whilst simultaneously declaring, “democracy is dead.” Janet is thoroughly distracted by continuous congratulations from well-wishers on her phone, and Bill seems to be off in the distance somewhere, though playing would be DJ and always with a glass of red in one hand. Martha (Cherry Jones) is the reserved academic, a specialist in “gender differentiation on American Utopianism” let’s just let one sink in for a bit. And her pregnant wife Jinny (Emily Mortimer) the earnest, and slightly jittery chef, the pair receives some unexpected news, as the final guest Tom (Cillian Murphy) arrives. He is very much the odd one out of the group, a banker with what appears to be a cocaine problem, and is the partner to Marianne, who is Janet’s assistant.
What ensues is an evening of awkward conversations and startling revelations, in this sharply written dark comedy, with twists and turns throughout. Filmed in black and white, it is also a visually stunning, theatrical film, worthy of the stage (think Harold Pinter and Alan Aykbourn), and this heavy weight ensemble do not disappoint.
Take a look at the Trailer
Reviewed by Chantelle Dusette