Thursday, February 23, 2012

Film Review Snippet: The Winslow Boy (1999), by Payman Akhlaghi

"The Winslow Boy" (1999, 104 mins)
Directed by David Mamet
Adapted from the 1946 play by Terence Rattigan
Based on Actual Historical Events
Music by Alaric Jans
Cast: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Gemma Jones, et al.

One of David Mamet's finest films, "The Winslow Boy" is based on true the story of a family who loses all they have, both health and fortune, to defend their 14-year old son against accusations of a minor theft, and to clear his name in court. A quiet narrative, as in most other Mamet films, allows his succinctly crafted lines to echo in the dignified spaces of his locations, and the drama to unfold smoothly, helping the audience to absorb the inner tension of the story and join this family in their predicament, while remaining in awe of their civility and persistent dignity. They might be talking, but what you hear feels as a whisper, as the very sound of their breathing.

We know that eventually, in the actual case, the High Court of Justice ruled that the child "is innocent of the charge." The film, however, ends with a more colorful conclusion, one that's never left me since I saw the film more than a decade ago, which I'd to quote in full from IMDB:
"- I wept today, because right had been done.
- Not justice?
- No, not justic. Right. Easy to do justice. Very hard to do right."
© 2012, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

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