the party

Director: sally porter (the man who cried, rage, ginga and rosa)

Starring: timothy spall, kristen scott thomas, patricia clarkson, and cillian murphy

REVIEWER: Lyall carter

Janet hosts an intimate gathering of friends in her London home to celebrate her political ascension. After her acerbic best friend and others arrive, some with dramatic news to share, an announcement by Janet's husband provokes a series of revelations. As the sophisticated soiree starts to unravel, a night that began with champagne soon ends up with arguments, shouting and a pointed gun.

The Party has all the intimacy and grandiose of a London West End production.  A small cast of actors all giving terrific performances and even though you are engaged enough to want to see it out, there are no characters that you particular warm too. 

Janet, a career politician, has recently been promoted to a senior position in her party and hosts a group of close friends to celebrate her success. All seems well until Bill, Janet's husband, makes a dramatic announcement sending the party into utter chaos. 

One of the elements I really loved in The Party is how the story tellers take a rather normal social occasion and with each confession the drama and utter madness begins to unfold. The unfurling of the story is wonderfully crafted and a lot happens in the very short one hour and eleven minute running time. Yes. You heard correct. It only goes for just over an hour. 

The performances are outstanding: at times understated, at times raging, and at times just utter bonkers. You can't pick one as the MVP this is truly an ensemble cast and you moved mesmerised from one actor to the other as they all get their time in the cinematic sun. 

But what ultimately lets The Party down is that there is no one you really like, despite all the other elements being quite great. They are all too flawed, too selfish, and way too intellectual in a really annoying snobbish way to like any of them. And you kinda need to like at least one person in a story to fully and complete engage with it. 

A great ensemble cast and a cracking script are a bit let down by there being absolutely no one character that warm to.

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The Party is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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