In 1694, an English noblewoman named Mrs. Herbert (Suzman) hires a haughty artist, cocksure Mr. Neville (Higgins), to sketch a series of 12 portraits of her husband's estate. Higgins insists he be allowed the use of her body for pleasure as payment, and the deal is closed. A perfectionist, Neville insists that nothing and no one be moved while he works on a scene, but stone statues begin to change locations and poses. Then Mrs. Herbert's married daughter, Mrs. Talmann (Lambert) tells Neville that her father may have been murdered and she has enough evidence to indict the painter, so she blackmails him into serving her sexual needs as well. Eventually Mr. Herbert's body does turn up in a ditch, and Neville's sketches provide crucial information about not only the murder but the job Neville has actually been hired to perform. Coldly clinical with sumptuous physical settings and costumes, charming and unsettling, and delightfully disturbing, this 1982 work by writer-director Peter Greenaway has more of a plot than some of his later, even weirder films, but it is complex, mysterious, and difficult to follow -- perfect fare for viewers who like to think and perhaps don't mind seeing a challenging movie more than once.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus