Nightwatching Peter Greenaway

Nightwatching Peter Greenaway
From the very beginning of the film, veteran director Peter Greenaway lets the audience in on his intentions; Nightwatching is a film about aesthetics and its relation to truth. Using the character of Rembrandt and a complex story about the creation of his most famous painting, The Night Watch, Greenaway creates a surreal, beautiful realm of imagery, and a film as beguiling as its visuals. In 1642, Rembrandt (The Office's Martin Freeman) is commissioned to paint a portrait of the Amsterdam militia, when one of the men is accidentally killed during target practice. Rembrandt begins to suspect a conspiracy, and uses his painting to hide clues, and insinuate guilt among his subjects. The execution of the film is epic and surreal. Every shot is composed the way a classical painting would be, both beautiful and artificially posed, and often plays out in a master shot, with camera movements and edits exceedingly restrained. The dialogue and staging is theatrical and bizarre, but always affecting. While such stylized aesthetics sometimes overwhelm a film, Nightwatching is anchored by a brilliant performance by Freeman, and a theme that directly relates to the manipulation of imagery. Greenaway seems more influenced by the mediums of painting and avant-garde theatre than film; he strips away most familiar cinematic techniques in favour of classical approaches, but still fashions one of the best looking films of recent years. At over two hours, the film eventually drags, but nevertheless, it's a unique cinematic experience worth enjoying. See it on as big a TV as you can. Sadly, there are no special features. (Alliance)