Let's get away to the British countryside this weekend, shall we? We've been invited to an estate with a bunch of rich aristocrats and famous people. Food and accommodation all taken care of, dreamy country air and interesting conversation. What's not to like? Pack your things for this weekend's watch, Gosford Park.



Tea at four, dinner at eight, murder at midnight. - USA Films

 

English industrialist Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon), his wife Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas), and their daughter Isobel (Camila Rutherford) host a weekend at their estate, Gosford Park. Among the lengthy guestlist are Sylvia's sisters and their husbands, her aunt Constance (Maggie Smith), American film producer Morris Weissman (Bob Balaban) and a few other aristocrats and wealthy persons. Of course, along with the upper class come their attendants who start to fill out the downstairs. The housekeeper, Mrs Wilson (Helen Mirren), takes charge of the visiting help and becomes immediately suspicious of the valet, Robert Parks (Clive Owen), who says he was brought up in an orphanage. Back upstairs, a dinner party is held to welcome the weekend guests and so begins everyone's efforts to advance themselves among the influential. It is revealed actor Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam) has been invited by Weissman on the pretence of being involved in his next movie which is a murder mystery that takes place at a British manor. After dinner, a silver carving knife is noted as missing. Weissman's valet, Henry Denton (Ryan Phillippe) starts to ask a barrage of questions of the staff that puts the rest of them on edge about him. As the weekend progresses, rumours and chatter abound both between the upstairs folk and the downstairs help. With so many mini stories going on, what brings everything to a head is the discovery of Sir William McCordie's body slumped in his chair with a knife in his chest. What was to be a light, fun weekend now involves the bumbling Inspector Thompson (Stephen Fry) and everyone becoming a suspect. This black comedy film abounds with characters, plot lines and a little bit of sauciness. Directed by Robert Altman, the film was influenced by Jean Renoir's French classic, La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). To the fans of Downton Abbey, Gosford park was intended as the prequel to the series, but the TV show ended up being a standalone. So, get out your sherry glasses and notepads for this mystery flick!