EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|NIGHTWATCHING (aka: REMBRANDT'S J'ACCUSE) (director/writer: Peter Greenaway; cinematographer: Reinier van Brummelen; editor: Karen Porter; music: Wlodzimierz Pawlik; cast: Martin Freeman (Rembrandt van Rijn), Emily Holmes (Hendrickje), Jodhi May (Geertje), Toby Jones (Gerard Dou), Eva Birthistle (Saskia), Natalie Press (Marieke); Runtime: 135; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Kees Kasander; Koch Home Entertainment; 2007-UK)|
Greenaway films, it's not for all tastes."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Cinema provocateur Peter
1/2 Women"/"Prospero's Books"/"The
Belly of an Architect") directs this visually pleasing highly personal
biopic of the Dutch painter
Rembrandt (Martin Freeman) that also can be viewed as an
oddball art history lesson involving a murder plot (with Greenaway
playing fast and loose with the facts to give us a look into the
troubled mind of the painter who must face his critics, as he offers
groundbreaking art). It focuses on 1642, when the painter goes
from a wealthy respected painter to a discredited pauper. Following his nagging pregnant wife Saskia's (Eva Birthistle) advice, the reluctant Rembrandt takes on the large
commission to paint the
Amsterdam Musketeer Militia in a group portrait of the 18 that would
become known as The Night Watch and become his masterpiece.
While painting, the artist
discovers a murder plot involving his egotistical bigwig subjects he
was called on to flatter in this portrait and becomes determined to
expose the conspiracy. Rembrandt
builds his accusation in
the form of his painting, following through on his decision to uncover
the seamy and
hypocritical side to Dutch Society in the Golden Age. But his good fortunes change as Saskia
dies. Meanwhile Rembrandt
builds his case for the murder plot involving conflict over finances
among his arrogant subjects, but the conspirators plan revenge and discredit him
by planting a caretaker, Geertje (Jodhi
May), to seduce him and become
his mistress. They
further diabolically plan his social and financial ruin, and succeed
into driving him into poverty, insult his young mistress Hendrickje (Emily Holmes), conspire
to destroy his son, and eventually bring Rembrandt to ruin.
The film is shot for the most
part from around the artist's bed, and the opulent richly colored film
looks as if it were a canvas being painted. It's an exotic look at the
mystery behind Rembrand's
famous painting, and should be pleasing to Greenaway fans. But like all
Greenaway films, it's not for all tastes. Be warned
that Greenaway's take on the painting is interesting but questionable.
REVIEWED ON 5/18/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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