When it premiered in 1989, Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” stunned audiences with its unflinching portraits of abuse and sexuality. It’s as dark as comedy can get, but it remains in the collective film consciousness through the generation of filmmakers that Greenaway influenced.
One of them is Matt Ross, director of “Captain Fantastic,” who singled out film’s technical and storytelling mastery. In the latest of our “Movies That Inspire Me” series, presented in partnership with FilmStruck, Ross explains how the film’s single-set construct helps grip the audience from the story’s outset.
Ross also praised Gambon and Mirren’s central performances. Amidst the ugliness, Ross argues that Gambon’s ability to elicit a strange sense of empathy and Mirren’s strength in the face of her character’s abuse help keep this film relevant almost 30 years after its release.
Both this and another classic Mirren performance, from John MacKenzie’s “The Long Good Friday,” are currently available to stream on Filmstruck.
“Movies That Inspire Me,” which features conversations with Sundance Film Festival directors about their favorite FilmStruck titles from the Turner Classic Movies and Criterion Collection, will continue regularly throughout the month of December here on IndieWire.