The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17   |    |  Crime, Drama


The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) Poster

The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.


7.6/10
31,980

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  • Helen Mirren in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
  • Flavia Brilli in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
  • Flavia Brilli in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
  • Tim Roth in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

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6 June 2003 | bechamel
9
| Bon appetit.
Writer/Director Peter Greenaway teams up again with cinematographer Sacha Vierny and composer Michael Nyman, delivering a banquet of sound and colour, light and dark. And dark and dark. A simple if disturbing morality tale sits atop a canvas of grotesque characters, carefully-composed frames and revolting details. The restaurant setting forces analogues with a meal, and it's easy to oblige - a rather formal affair, bordering on pretentious, with its influences conspicuous - sumptuous, exotic, intoxicating, memorable, if perhaps too rich and over-long, and it plays havoc with the digestion.

As acquired a taste as any of Greenaway's work, and by no means an unqualified triumph. This film does not deliver on all its promises. But at least they were big promises. Try a piece - if you don't like it, you can always go back to your burgers and fries.

Nine out of ten.

Notes:

1. Michael Gambon's "Albert Spica" (the Thief of the title) surely ranks as one of cinema's all-time nastiest villains. Sorry Darth - no cigar.

2. The title of this film has become a template for headlines in British newspapers, e.g. "The A, the B, his C and her D". Don't ask me why.

3. "Cook/Thief" is one of four similar and inter-related films that Greenaway made during the 1980s, the others being "The Belly of an Architect", "A Zed and Two Noughts" and "Drowning by Numbers". While "Cook/Thief" stole all the headlines with its snazzy visuals and outrageous grotesquery - not to mention various collisions with the censors - For me, "Drowning" is the best of the bunch. And somewhat easier on the eye (and stomach).

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