Director Robert Altman's 2001 serving is a masterpiece of character and nuance -- a sort of class-dissecting cross between "Upstairs, Downstairs" and Agatha Christie. In November 1932, wealthy British aristocrats and their friends gather at the estate of Sir William McCordle (Gambon) for a weekend shooting party. Though there are dozens of characters, both upper and serving class, all busily looking up to, down on, and judging one another, the film juggles them all fairly nicely. A murder leads to the revelation of all sorts of secrets. For the "main character," I have arbitrarily chosen "Mary" (Kelly Macdonald), the new and inexperienced maid of the Countess of Trentham, because she just possibly gets a little more screen time than the rest, and is the only outsider (including an affable, bumbling police inspector delightfully played by Stephen Fry) to solve the mystery, but this is a totally ensemble performance by an array of England's greatest actors and actresses. Like "In the Bedroom" but in a very different way, it's a leisurely, character-driven film more than a plot-driven one, so you have to settle into its pace and pay very close attention to appreciate its manifold riches.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus