Sunday, November 05, 2006


Color coded movie of the week:

You're probably going to hate this movie. That's my prediction. Is that any reason not to watch it? Absolutely not!

This films displays simultaneously, scenes of extraordinary beauty and spendor, along with scenes of sudden and extreme cruelty. Some parts are difficult to watch, but you can't look away. A crude and obnoxious crime boss (the thief) owns a restaurant in London, where he, his wife (his wife), and all his sycophants eat every night.

He’s really obnoxious! He’s rude and crude, and he inflicts both physical and psychological abuse to all those around him. He especially likes to establish his dominance by humiliating those that serve him, like his wife and the chef of the restaurant (the cook), as portrayed quite graphically in the opening sequence. His is the type of character that you watch and repeat to yourself, “He’s going to get it. He’s going to get it. He’s going to die in some particularly nasty way. He just has to!”

The wife, played by the talented Helen Mirren, is a graceful, intelligent, refined woman. She sits quietly and endures her husband. I’m not sure how or why these two ended up together. As a form of escape, she begins an affair with one of the restaurant’s regular patrons (her lover). This has the potential to end rather badly if the powerful, domineering, possessive, and ruthless mob boss finds out that some other man is with his wife.

I called this the “color coded” movie of the week. It’s a film style the director uses, that might not be immediately apparent on the first viewing. So look for it. The color scheme of the set and costumes changes with different locations. Red for the dining room, white for the bathroom, green for the kitchen, etc… The costumes (Helen Mirem’s dress, her cigarettes, the sashes the men wear) also change color as they walk from room to room. Is this key to the plot? No, but it does help to set the style and tone.

This movie is not for everyone. Some people can’t get past the cruelty and physical abuse. This is some nudity and sex, but that’s shown more as an oasis of sanity than it is sensual. No, the part that seems to get most people comes in the final scene. This is the most controversial scene in the film. People who hate this movie, probably do it because of this scene. This is the type of scene that sends spectators running from the theaters. I think that these people haven’t been paying attention throughout the rest of the film. If they had, they might agree that this ending is a logical, inevitable, and very satisfying conclusion to the story. I won’t say more, except that this was one of the first films to sport the NC-17 rating from the MPAA.

I have read many articles that describe this film as an allegory to Thatcherism. I suppose that if I were British or were paying attention to British politics around that era, I might see the connection. Unfortunately, I don’t. But I imagine that excesses of wealth and abuse of power could properly be applied to many political regimes. But I digress ..…

Although I'm sure you’ll hate this movie, why should you see it?

  1. It’s good.
  2. It’s real good.
  3. Visually stunning and stylish.
  4. Helen Mirren naked – this could go either way. We're talking Helen "Prime Suspect" Mirren, Helen "Calender Girls" Mirren, Hellen "Ms Tingle" Mirren.
  5. You’ll be glad it wasn’t filmed in “Smell-o-rama”.
  6. Learn to be careful about ordering “delicacies” at fancy restaurants.
  7. It earned a 93% on the tomatometer.
  8. It’s featured in Steven Jay Schneider’s book, “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”.
  9. Alternate title: “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, & her Lover Must be Getting Tired of the Same Old Menu Because they Eat in the Same Damn Restaurant Every Single Freakin’ Night”.
  10. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote a very detailed review of this film. It gives a lot of information away, so you may want to read it afterward. However, if it gets you to rent and watch the movie, read it now.


Film critic Roger Ebert's review of THE COOK THE THIEF HIS WIFE & HER LOVER.


At 7:14 PM, Blogger Jan Andrea said...

"Keep an open mind"?!? Keep an open esophagus, is more like it. This is the most disgusting movie I've ever seen (disclaimer: I haven't seen any real horror movies). Maybe if I were blind, I could enjoy this movie. Or maybe if I hadn't eaten for a week and thus had no gorge to rise in my throat. Otherwise, ew. There may be a fantastic allegory present in the film, but I was unable to get past the "Oh my god, did they just show what I think they showed?!" to grasp it. I am, however, a philistine.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger FranksFilms said...

I find that this is a common response to the film. Most people say this about the ending. I think that there has been so much cruelty ans violence that by the time you get to the ending, you say, "Yeah, why not?" The sharp contrast between the very beautiful and the very awful runs through this movie, and is supposed to represent similar contrasts in British society at that time.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often find myself baffled at what movie critics find good. This film was so bad it even made Tim Roth suck. Herein you will find:

1.) A philosophical discussion of the bollocks.
2.) Sex near/on animal carcasses. (mmm... hygenic)
3.) Tim Roth sucking.
4.) An unlikable hero.
5.) An even more unlikeable villain.
6.) Even when people get what they deserve, it's unsatisfying.
7.) Yuck factor for the sake of yuck factor.
8.) Uber castrato with extra castration.
9.) Two hours of your life you will never get back.

For those with strong stomachs, I would have to recommend watching 2 hours of liposuction surgery over this film.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger FranksFilms said...

Liposuction surgery video can be found at

and at

Have you ever seen facial reconstruction surgery? I don't have a link to it but I'm betting you could find some online.


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