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The Winslow Boy

September 12, 2010

The Winslow Boy (1998)
Director: David Mamet
Actors: Rebecca Pidgeon, Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam

the-winslow-boy-414.jpg (300×195)

Synopsis: A family stick together to defend their young son after he was incorrectly expelled from the navy.

Review: There is undeniable value in David Mamet’s revival of Terence Rattigan’s seemingly stuffy and old-fashioned play for the big screen. Of course, most of the interesting elements of the production are inherently theatrical, such as the performances with their emphasis on diction, and the odd way the narrative is staged (most of the major plot developments occur off-screen with the characters merely commenting on the action). Indeed there is an almost Chekhovian quality at work in the story with the seeming emphasis on family and location, but with the sly, macro-discourse on the changing of a whole social guard with the arrival of the suffragettes and media sensationalism, and the challenging of previously infallible national institutions like the navy. My only slight query with the film is what Mamet’s underlying attitude or stance to the story is? The Winslow Boy is neither revamp nor pastiche – perhaps it’s merely a curious exercise in adaptation, with Mamet taking a very stagebound play and seeing how tenable he can make it as a cinematic ‘event’. On those terms, he succeeds…. (May 2009)

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