Robert Altman | 2001 | ★★★★½
Gently evolving from an exquisite, beautifully observed comedy of manners to a blackly farcical murder mystery, underpinned by a subtext of gradually revealed tragedy, Altman’s antepenultimate film proves one of his best. The screenplay from Julian Fellowes is full of wit and intrigue; Andrew Dunn’s photography is noteworthy; Altman’s mise en scène is quite remarkable; and the brilliantly assembled cast is unsurprisingly wonderful, with Emily Watson’s extraordinary turn proving the pick of the performances. That said, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Kelly Macdonald, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, and Richard E. Grant (amongst so many others) are also excellent. A delight.