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WINSLOW BOY, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Based on a true story and set in England, 1912, the film is about Winslow family, led by its patriarch Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne), facing the moral, social and financial challenge of their young son, Ronnie (Guy Edwards) being expelled from naval College when he’s accused of stealing a 5 shilling postal order. The Winslows hire eminent barrister Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam) to rescue Ronnie’s and the family’s reputation and good name.

"It is tempting to say how well the British do multi-faceted characters, how well they translate period on the screen, and how subtle they are with their understated ways. But of course they do and they are….but so does the American who directs this masterpiece of human drama, David Mamet. Mamet adapted the play, too, making him (in my books) one of the best screenwriters around. The joy of The Winslow Boy is its economy, both in dialogue and imagery, which becomes a magnifying tool for the action that takes place within the hearts and minds of its characters. These pleasures are responsible for our love affair with cinema in the first place, harking back to the great classics of the pre and post war ‘golden years'. Entrancing performances and genuine emotional turning points make The Winslow Boy a thoroughly satisfying film which resonates with its tale of fighting for that which is ‘right’ – not merely justice. The film will linger in your memory for a long while, making it a terrific little investment in entertainment."
Andrew L. Urban

"Alluring and enticing, The Winslow Boy is a rare treat, articulating the eloquence of the English language and the power of understatement. It's about old fashioned values like truth, justice and the English way. Honour and loyalty are paramount. David Mamet's marvellous adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play is an insightful look into a civilised world filled with etiquette, niceties and reserve, its settings rich with paintings, crackling fires and maids in frilly aprons. There is nothing like the understatement of the British – its effect is to make you listen and take pleasure in the minutiae of human expression. With a script that sings and direction that is as unobtrusive as it is stylish, Mamet brilliantly captures emotional complexity– from outward reserve to inward passion. A reflection on the window of a moving automobile, the very tight, revealing close ups, observations from different angles – all handled succinctly and with restraint. It is interesting that most of the film takes place on the sidelines; this teaser approach fuels our interest and engages our emotions. Effectively drawing us into a different world, there's superb production design, costumes and a melodic score that soars. The pedigree cast delivers in aces. The strength of the performances is in the subtleties. Nigel Hawthorne is wonderful, meticulous with detail, creating such a real character that we feel as though we've known him all our life. Suave, handsome Jeremy Northam is impressive, bringing back the magic he created in Emma, while Rebecca Pidgeon shows Grace Kelly-like cool, masking a bubbling melting pot of simmering passions. And what a refined performance Sarah Flind gives, as Violet the maid. The scene where Violet reveals the Winslow case verdict, is the film's most moving and satisfying. Intelligent, eloquent, The Winslow Boy is a witty, engaging human drama destined for greatness."
Louise Keller

"It seems that Terrence Rattigan's study of British justice - or lack thereof - hasn't lost its bite, a mark of the genius of this remarkable playwright. Though the material seems at odds for David Mamet to take on board as both screenwriter and director, he has done a first-class job, further exemplifying the thematic depths of the original, enhancing Rattigan's work masterfully. It's first and foremost a brilliant script, based on an equally brilliant play, and the marriage of two is harmony par excellence. As a filmmaker, Mamet's direction is perfectly understated here, refusing to be as mannered or obtrusive as he usually is. Mamet is also an actor's director, and with one exception, elicits some of the finest acting of the year thus far. Nigel Hawthorne is a precious asset to any film and here he delivers a bravura performance, one as meticulously controlled as anything we've seen by an actor in recent memory. He is matched with a sublime performance by Jeremy Northam, playing the classic role of the seemingly haughty defence lawyer with utter conviction and depth of range. More disappointing is Rebecca Pidgeon (aka Mrs Mamet) who, despite her convincing accent, is curiously pallid, a minor annoyance given the weightiness of her role. But that criticism notwithstanding, The Winslow Boy is still a standout film, a truly intelligent and intricate study of British social justice and hypocrisy in Edwardian Britain. Every word is a jewel, and seeing these two men perform is a sight to behold. This is a film that may indeed have 'classic' written all over it. It's an experience to relish."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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TRAILER

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WINSLOW BOY, THE (PG)
(UK)

CAST: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Gemma Jones, Guy Edwards, Aden Gillett

DIRECTOR: David Mamet

PRODUCER: Sarah Green

SCRIPT: David Mamet (from a play by Terence Rattigan)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Benoit Delhomme

EDITOR: Barbara Tulliver

MUSIC: Alaric Jans

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gemma Jackson

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 1999: Perth (Other states, July 15, 1999)

VIDEO RELEASE: February 2, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar







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