Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Death and the Joys of Trainspotting, 4 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drowning By Numbers DVD [Region 2 Import] (DVD)
A darkly surreal comedy about three women, three murders and a coroner forms the basis of one of director, Peter Greenaway's, most satisfying films to date. This funny, quirky, visually lavish film was made with funding from Channel 4, back in the halcyon days when they supported such artistic innovation, before the onset of Big Brother and other cultural atrocities.
Peter Greenaway is England's own David Lynch. Both men began as painters rather than film-makers. Both retain a strong sense of visual design that is clearly evident in their films. Both encourage a stylised, non-realistic approach from their actors, openly embracing the artificiality of the medium. Both take an elliptical, philosophical approach to film-making. Both employ surrealist humour, often juxtaposed with shocking or grotesque imagery. Both have long-standing relationships with composers whose work is a key element in their films (Angelo Badalamenti with Lynch, Michael Nyman with Greenaway). Both polarise audiences into those who love their work and those who hate it. All of these traits are perfectly displayed in 'Drowning by Numbers.'
The film centres around three women, a grandmother, mother and daughter, all called Cissy, their variously unsatisfactory husbands and, more especially, their growing relationships with the local coroner, Madgett, played by the great Bernard Hill, who is called in to investigate the husbands' deaths. Their story unfolds against some of Greenaway's most elaborate and beautifully staged sets and exquisitely filmed locations. As one would expect with Greenaway, the images on screen are gorgeous to look at.
The incidental characters are the most endearing in any of Greenaway's films. Madgett's young son, Smut, creates wonderful and bizarre games such as 'Dawn Card Castles,' 'Hangman's Cricket,' and 'Sheep and Tides,' in which you tether sheep along the sea shore and note how they react to the incoming and outgoing of the tides. And then there's my personal favourite, the skipping girl who names the stars.
Numbers occur throughout the film, which presents a count from 1 to 100, with numbers sometimes appearing on various props, on the backs of runners, or in dialogue from the characters. Having watched the film several times, I always find myself drawn into the game, attempting to spot all the numbers. I haven't succeeded yet. Why are the numbers there? Are they important? I have no idea. For me, they're just an additional element to the overall fun of watching the film. Fun may seem a strange word to use in reference to a film about multiple murders, and one that does include dark moments and images, but fun it is. Maybe it's just my peculiarly warped sense of humour. Actually, I think it's more to do with Peter Greenaway's peculiar genius.
Some dismiss Greenaway's films as pretentious, arty nonsense and it's easy enough to see why. They will never be to everyone's taste. Personally, as a painter myself, as a lover of the surreal, and of cinema that presents vastly more interest than the average Hollywood blockbuster, I rate Peter Greenaway, along with David Lynch and Lindsay Anderson, as one of my all-time favourite directors, and 'Drowning by Numbers' as one of his finest films.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.3 out of 5 stars (18 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
21.69
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Greywolf
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Wiltshire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 719