“The Draughtsman’s Contract” – Movie Reviews


“The Draughtsman’s Contract” is a 1982 period drama film directed by Peter Greenaway. The film is set in the 17th century in rural England and follows the story of a talented but eccentric draughtsman named Mr. Neville, who is hired by the wealthy Mrs. Herbert to produce a series of drawings of her estate. However, Neville’s contract soon takes a mysterious turn, and he finds himself entangled in a web of deceit and intrigue.

At its core, “The Draughtsman’s Contract” is a film about power, art, and sexuality. The film explores the power dynamics between the wealthy landowners and their employees, as well as the relationship between art and truth. The film’s exploration of sexuality is also central to its themes, as Neville becomes involved in a series of liaisons with various women on the estate, each of whom plays a different role in his contract.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its stunning visual style. Greenaway’s use of composition, lighting, and color creates a visual feast for the eyes, and the film’s sumptuous costumes and elegant sets add to the film’s period charm. The film is also notable for its use of allegory and symbolism, which add depth and complexity to the narrative.

The film’s performances are also outstanding, with Anthony Higgins delivering a memorable performance as the aloof and enigmatic Neville. Janet Suzman is equally impressive as the demanding and manipulative Mrs. Herbert, and the rest of the cast, including Anne-Louise Lambert, Hugh Fraser, and Neil Cunningham, all deliver strong supporting performances.

One of the film’s most memorable scenes is the final sequence, in which the truth behind Neville’s contract is revealed. The scene is a masterful display of visual storytelling, as Greenaway uses the drawings produced by Neville throughout the film to piece together the clues that lead to the shocking conclusion. The scene is both thrilling and intellectually satisfying, and it leaves the audience with a sense of awe and wonder.

Overall, “The Draughtsman’s Contract” is a stunning and intellectually engaging film that showcases Greenaway’s unique visual style and narrative approach. The film’s exploration of power, art, and sexuality is both thought-provoking and entertaining, and its outstanding performances and memorable visual design make it a must-see for fans of period dramas and art-house cinema.

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