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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd, erratic, erotic...a black comedy which features stop motion decay
How does one define oddness? I'd suggest by starting with two words: Peter Greenaway. You can also use those two words to define "Unique cinema visions," "total control," "beautiful views" and "don't mess with me." Greenaway is his own world, and you're either eager for a visit or you'll insist on staying off the space ship. I'd suggest you prepare for your visit by...
Published on 22 July 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greenaway's best movie - but not for everyone
A Zed and Two Noughts (or Zoo) is Greenaway's best film. Made during the transition between his early experimental short films and his later more narrative (and more celebrated) ones, his free flowing structure is at its best here, fresh, witty and cerebral (some would also say pedantic). In later films, one has the feeling that Greenaway has try to go back to the style...
Published on 10 Aug. 2008 by Andres C. Salama


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greenaway's best movie - but not for everyone, 10 Aug. 2008
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Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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A Zed and Two Noughts (or Zoo) is Greenaway's best film. Made during the transition between his early experimental short films and his later more narrative (and more celebrated) ones, his free flowing structure is at its best here, fresh, witty and cerebral (some would also say pedantic). In later films, one has the feeling that Greenaway has try to go back to the style set by Zoo, but the results (like in 8 1/2 women) are almost unwatchable. The plot: two biologists twins working in a zoo, specialized in studying the putrefaction of animals, lose their wives in a car accident. They hook up with a strange woman who lost her leg in that accident. Meanwhile, there are references to Vermeer throughout (what does this has to do with zoology, only Greenaway knows), speeded up shots of real rotting animals, Michael Nyman's hypnotic score, and also a girl who learns the alphabet through giant letters that are linked with live animals (for example, z is for zebra, as in a children's book). Deliberately non naturalistic, Greenaway makes from this strange melange a very compelling movie, though undoubtedly very hard to take for some.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd, erratic, erotic...a black comedy which features stop motion decay, 22 July 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
How does one define oddness? I'd suggest by starting with two words: Peter Greenaway. You can also use those two words to define "Unique cinema visions," "total control," "beautiful views" and "don't mess with me." Greenaway is his own world, and you're either eager for a visit or you'll insist on staying off the space ship. I'd suggest you prepare for your visit by packing away any compulsion you might have to explain things...such as his meaning, his importance...all those categories, lists and twos of things...and your own squeamishness. "I don't make pictures that have a sell-by date," Greenaway once said. That's especially true of A Zed and Two Noughts, where a good many of the things we'll see have long passed their sell-by date.

We start the movie with a double death in a car crash by a zoo...death by swan on a lane called Swan's Way. The wives of our two zoologists may be gone, but their husbands, twins and formerly joined twins Oswald and Oliver Deuce, will lead us on an exploration of grief and decay, illustrated by their stop motion movies. We will meet a beautiful amputee, soon to have her remaining leg off by a mad surgeon, probably for issues of symmetry. In addition to wet decay, we'll enjoy vomiting, frontal nudity, Vermeer, Greenaway's magnificent color palette, black and white animals, a white mare named Hortense, several interesting fetishes, plus the movie's unique chapter headings: Mercury, Apple, Prawn, Fish, Crocodile, Swan, Dog, Zebra and Escargot. Black comedy, indeed.

I'll admit I don't think I understood a thing about A Zed and Two Noughts. I started to read what some critics and fans have offered by way of analysis and found much of what they had to say, from my point of view, largely incomprehensible, too detailed or too dull. Greenaway is chilly, controlling and all about style layered heavily on top of substance. He can make Stanley Kubrick look loosey-goosey. I found a Zed and Two Noughts, in a perverse kind of way, enjoyable. I suspect that's because Greenaway comes up with such odd, intriguing and often disturbing visions. They can almost make you forget what the devil he's getting at. For me, Prospero's Books is a perfect blend of style and story; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is an almost perfect match of style and story; The Draughtsman's Contract is an amusing overlay of manners, murder, style and story. But A Zed and Two Noughts? Well, I found it chilly, sometimes uninvolving and often amusing. I enjoyed it, more or less, most of the time. (I occasionally used the fast-forward button). If ten people can tell me what the movie means, beyond the old standbys of death, grief and snails, I'll bet I'll read ten wildly different opinions. That's no particular criticism of either Greenaway or the film.
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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An endless, always rewarding, cinematic puzzle box..., 28 Mar. 2004
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This review is from: A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
A Zed & Two Noughts came from the same cinematic period in which Greenaway gave us such other endlessly watchable classics, like The Draughtsman’s Contract, Drowning By Numbers and the Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover. It remains, for me at least, one of the defining films of the decade; rich in humour, symbolism, game playing, and, some of the most beautiful cinematic images ever captured by a film camera. Greenaway says himself that his intention for this - his second narrative film after years of short experimentation - was to combine a number of disparate elements that would all combine to tell a single story.
Here, the filmmaker layers his preoccupations so that the film becomes a much more rewarding work; employing an allegorical framework so that each scene conforms to the notions of physical evolution and the origins of life, whilst also developing notions of visual symmetry, twin-ship, personal loss, cosmetic amputation, death, decomposition, lists and lettering, as well as the post-modern self-aware referentialism of filmmaking its self. The central experiment here deals with the notions of film lighting, with Greenaway and his cinematographer Sacha Vierny demonstrating every conceivable method of how to light a scene (e.g. sun-light, moon-light, florescent lights, car-head-lamps, the light from a TV set, and in one partially stunning scene, the reflected light from a rainbow... and so-on).
As with the BFI’s subsequent release of Greenaway’s narrative debut, the Draughtsman’s Contract, A Zed & Two Noughts comes digitally re-mastered with a wealth of eye-opening bonus material. Unlike the majority of filmmakers who use up commentary tracks to spill their guts about the pressures of directing egotistical stars or waxing lyrical on a number of trivial anecdotes, Greenaway uses his talk-track to offer new insight into the thematic layering of the film, as well as clarifying elements of the plot that might otherwise be unreadable. His extensive knowledge on the Dutch renascence painter Johannes Vermeer for example, is particularly interesting, especially when he is discussing the influence of Vermeer’s 26 paintings on the visual design of the film. Elsewhere, we have the filmed introduction to the picture, again by Greenaway, lovingly constructed to ape the design of the filmmaker’s more recent work like Prospero’s Books and 8 ½ Women.
There are also a collection of deleted scenes, sleeve-notes, behind the scenes footage, and a collection of hidden features... very much in keeping with the arcane game-playing central to the plot. The print of the film, in its original, integral cinematic ratio of 1:66.1 spherical gives Vierny’s opulent cinematography a whole new lease of life, whilst the 5.1 stereo surround sound allows the audience to indulge themselves in the brilliance of Michael Nyman’s iconic soundtrack (re-hashed many times for other films, adverts, and so-on over the twenty-years since). Although the film is labyrinthine, austere, calculated and overly designed, it is in no way an elitist work...
Greenaway’s deft-handling of the script allows for innumerable moments of subversive satire and darkly comic wit, whilst the charm of performers like Frances Barber, Joss Ackland, and (shock-horror) Jim Davison is more than enough to break-through the ascetic-veneer. This is one of the greatest British films of all time... an excellent work of artistic entertainment on a lovingly packaged disk, making A Zed & Two Noughts (a film) ripe for re-discovery.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb quality, 8 May 2011
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Hi all interested in Greenaways work.
Just to say the quality of the picture and sound on this blue ray are excellent,exactly what Greenaway deserves.
The directors commentary is fascinating.
Its about time.

Buy it if you like Greenaway
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 9 July 2013
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lovely print and very good special features. currently the only older Greenaway film on blu ray which is crazy. very good blu
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fillum that changed my life., 26 Jun. 2013
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and always it will remain.
Something of an artwank like all his movies, this one is special to me.
My love of his 'Nyman Movies' continues, both of them have strayed from their 80s brilliance.
Greenaway's still to impress me but Nyman has the wonderful 'Gattaca'. Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required viewing, 26 Jun. 2014
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Greenaway's "flawed creation" exerts an enduring fascination, adn Sacha Viernay's cinematography is jaw-dropping. Suffice it to say I own this on VHS, DVD and now blu-ray.

The blu-ray print is crisp and the colour palette is much improved over the DVD, but its not by any means a full digital restoration (such as BfI's Draughtsman's Contract print). Sadly limitations of blu-ray mean the interactive menus of the BfI DVD are replaced with static ones, which is a shame, but the additional extras compensate to a degree.

Somebody give PG a lavish budget to remake this film as it could have been!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love the artwork and compositions in this one, 11 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
As a fan of peter greenaway, this movie has a lot to offer. Even film makers today can learn from the perfect compositions and framing that this fill has to offer. Buy this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it or hate it, 14 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
delivered spot on as usualy
wonderfull movie, you must have seen it
not for a fragile soul though, some scenes are quite a confrontation with afterdead/afterlife....
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5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic, 27 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] (DVD)
Great film, one of my old favourites. Delivered promptly. Excellent soundtrack. A must see if you like Peter Greenaway. Another one for the collection.
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A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD]
A Zed & Two Noughts [1985] [DVD] by Peter Greenaway (DVD - 2004)
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