13 January 2017 | runamokprods
Lindsay and Bennett make for a highly interesting and enjoyable odd couple
A highly entertaining, occasionally brilliant, and almost impossible to see satirical broadside against "The Old Crowd" who dominate Britain.
It's an intriguing meeting of two genius creative figures – director Lindsay Anderson and writer Alan Bennett – who wouldn't seem a natural match. Anderson was at his best in the weird, surreal and wildly entertaining films "If
" and "O Lucky Man". Bennett's long history of brilliant writing tended to be much more grounded in reality, much less blatant in it's outrage (and metaphors). He's a far more subtle presence.
But the two go well together, each pushing the other's boundaries. I wonder if Bennett's script was full of such out there ideas as constantly panning away from the spectacle of this group of haughty and silly well-to-do aging insiders to reveal the real film crew just a few feet away recording the farce. But it's a brilliant device, reminding us of how artificial these people and the insulated world they've created to live in really are. (And how blind they are to what's right in front of their eyes).
There's not much in the way of a plot, just a series of very odd, mostly quite funny and odd events and encounters over the course of a dinner party. The actors are terrific, wonderfully walking the line between absurdist cartoons and being just real enough to inspire some level of human interest.
It's not perfect. Some ideas are just too repeated, hammered home, and on the nose (those giant cracks growing in the ceiling anyone?) . But I was thrilled to finally see it, a fascinating piece in the history of two of England's most important dramatic presences from the 2nd half of the 20th century.