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Nightwatching [DVD]


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Nightwatching [DVD] + The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover [DVD] [1989] + A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Eva Birthistle, Jodhi May, Toby Jones
  • Directors: Peter Greenaway
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Axiom Films
  • DVD Release Date: 26 April 2010
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZQX068
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,476 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 July 2009
Format: DVD
One of the most famous paintings by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is "The Night Watch," a dark-hued painting filled with richly, colourfully dressed soldiers.

Well, no matter how brilliant they are, most paintings don't end up inspiring movies -- but Peter Greenaway does a pretty brilliant job with "Nightwatching," a semi-fictionalized version of how Rembrandt came to paint it. The "hidden coded message" subplot is a bit awkward, but Greenaway's brilliance shines in how exquisite the movie is -- he wraps the movie in lush, light-soaked beauty, and Rembrandt becomes a very real person.

When his smart, independent wife Saskia (Eva Birthistle) gets pregnant, Rembrandt (Martin Freeman) is called upon to paint an Amsterdam Civil Guard -- he doesn't want to, but reluctantly agrees under the condition that he gets nine months ("(It takes that long to make a baby; it will certainly take that long to make a painting") and chooses the setup. Meanwhile, Saskia gives birth to a healthy baby but becomes ill herself (which frustrates her lusty husband).

In fact, Saskia becomes more sickly as the painting goes on -- and when she dies, Rembrandt's closeness to Titus' nursemaid Geertje (Jodhi May) and maidservant Hendrickje (Emily Holmes) becomes quite different. And his straightforward commission is complicated by the sudden death of a young officer, which reveals a seedy clot of sex, blackmail and corruption. He can't reveal these things in the open, but he can weave them into "The Night Watch."

Rich draperies, misty forests, torch-waving brigades in a darkened bedroom, high windows filled with pale sunlight, vast empty rooms, smoky kitchens, and the pale angelic face of a dead young woman -- "Nightwatching" is a bit like seeing a painting in motion.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Morten Verner Hansen on 20 Jun 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Amazon has made a mistake in the "title".
"Nighthwatching" and "Rembrandt's J'Accuse" are two different movies. The documentary "Rembrandt's J'Accuse" is NOT included on this blu ray.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mancheeros on 14 Feb 2011
Format: DVD
Peter Greenaway - who happens to be one of my favourite film makers - has been on the slide since '8 1/2 Women' and that's a great shame; maybe his new multimedia projects will produce some stimulating works. NIGHTWATCHING has all the Greenaway hallmarks of old: lavish sets, exquisite lighting, quirky editing and camera movement, racy dialogue, but what is lacking is a strong central performance. Sadly, Martin Freeman, who is excellent at light comedy, is not up to the job of bringing all the ingredients together; what he lacks is gravitas and the Rembrandt story of rollercoaster emotions requires a powerhouse actor at the centre of events to drive things forward. The supporting cast is also lacking; gone are the days when Greenaway's films would feature top British actors of the calibre of John Gielgud, Helen Mirren, Joan Plowright, Alan Howard, Janet Suzman, etc. At times I felt I was watching little more than an innovative exercise in mise-en-scene when I should have been watching a gripping emotional story enhanced by technical innovation. As it stands, NIGHTWATCHING is overlong and ultimately boring.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. O'Sullivan on 13 Jan 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have purchased Martin Freeman's back catalogue available on DVD (with the exception of the awful Hitchhiker's Guide - Sorry, Martin, definitely not YOUR fault!) and suppose I could therefore be considered somewhat biased with regards to my opinion of his work. However, with regards to Nightwatching I can only echo a previous reviewer's statement, because Martin Freeman was simply amazing as Rembrandt. Having mainly seen Martin in comedic series such as The Office and Hardware, I simply hadn't expected such a mind-blowing performance (No offence, Martin...) and was thoroughly impressed. The dialogue-heavy film with some very long scenes which don't appear to have been cut must have been a hard slog for the actors; compliments to all involved. As viewer, I, too, was pretty exhausted in the end because to fully appreciate the storyline and dialogue, and do this film the justice it deserves, I found that I had to really concentrate and allow myself become immersed in what was happening on screen.

Not a Rembrandt fan, I admit that I would never have bought this DVD if it wouldn't have had Martin Freeman in the starring role and I'm grateful to the casting crew for their little stroke of genius. As soon as I can take some time off, I will travel to Amsterdam to see the painting for myself. Since first watching the DVD, I have also loaned it to most of my friends who, too, enjoyed the film very much indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By count orlok on 21 Mar 2012
Format: DVD
I'm a real Peter Greenaway fan - this just as an open statement of my partiality in advance.

Now, what I personally find best about this film is 1) the visuals, which are calmer and more puristic than those in most of Greenaway's films, whilst still continuing his technique of subjecting the style to the content (in this case, this means that most of the shots look like lost Rembrandt paintings, and this, let us admit, is simply a pleasure to look at). 2) The acting, which is sometimes emotional without ever becoming melodramatic, sometimes light and entertaining (I cannot quite agree with some people's opinion that this film debases Rembrandt, I think it shows him as a rounded human being, funny, serious, kind, silly, angry, sad, and all). 3) The investigation into the aesthetics of stage and painting, respectively, which is informed by Greenaway's playful yet sharp intellect.

What I find negative about the film is 1) the fact that the characters, apart from Rembrandt himself, are all two-dimensional, especially the women in Rembrandt's household, who really strike me as mere cardboard. Greenaway can do better then this. 2) The length, which is frankly irritating. The film should have ended on that beautifully delivered speech about how "The Night Watch" does not allow the people in the painting to strike a pose and, as it were, stage themselves, but gives that power to the painter instead. This nicely rounds off the conspiracy plot on a serious note - but then we are meant to go on and follow the "Rembrandt's downfall" plot, and that just doesn't work. Throughout the film, the biographical bits are the weaker of the two plot strands, and as soon as they are required to carry the film all by themselves, the whole things more or less collapses.
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