Unassuming and darkly funny, The Party offers brilliant, time-bomb entertainment. It’s a sharp, finely crafted movie shot in black-and-white and thole whole thing is enjoyably ridiculous.
The Party in question is brought together by Janet (Kristen Scott Thomas), a politician and her cranky husband Bill (Timothy Spall). Their guests include a smooth-talking financer, Tom (Cillian Murphy), who keeps locking himself up in the bathroom to snort cocaine and examine his gun in the mirror. Jenny (Emily Mortimer), a renowned chef shows up with her partner Martha (Cherry Jones), and Janet’s old friend April (Patricia Clarkson) is there with her new boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz).
We are firmly in the company of elites and academics. The get-together is supposed to be a celebration for Janet’s promotion to Shadow Minister of Health, but before the dinner is even served, it all kicks off when Bill makes a shocking revelation, leaving everyone stunned. This is the catalyst for an evening of bickering, hostility and violence. You’re soon left wondering if the guests were better off staying at home for a cosy night in.
The actors clearly had a fun time hurling insults at each other in what is a very claustrophobic setting. Everyone arrives at the party isolated in their own concerns, particularly Tom, and the shooting style further creates a feeling of entrapment. The film is more like a stage play, so it’s not cinematic in the slightest. It is, however, pure fun and the acting is riveting.
The Party zips along totally in tune and every actor gets their moment to shine. All the chaos is crammed into a gripping 71 minutes. The film is ultimately about people and their deception, linking to another key message: distrust in modern day politics.
Written and directed by: Sally Potter
Stars: Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, Emily Mortimer, Cherry Jones, Timothy Spall.
Distributor: Picturehouse Entertainment.