BFI #LFF 2017: THE PARTY Film Review

Funny, potent and deliciously nasty, THE PARTY is a wickedly fast-paced piece of political and personal satire

A celebration quickly takes a turn for the worse in Sally Potter razor-sharp new comedy THE PARTY.

Shot in beady black and white, THE PARTY opens with Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas), the new appointed Shadow Minister for Health, inviting a few friends over for a dinner party to celebrate her long-awaited promotion. But as the guests start to arrive, the cosy gathering soon turns takes an unexpected turn when the host’s dazed husband Bill (Timothy Spall) makes not one, but two shock announcements, leading to bickering, recrimination, revenge, and a possible death or two.

Funny, potent and deliciously nasty, THE PARTY is a wickedly fast-paced piece of political and personal satire. Laced with spit-fire dialogue and biting one-liners, Potter’s razor-sharp script crackles with dry acidity and scorn throughout while Alexey Rodionov’s prowling camera captures every subtlety as it expertly weaves in and around the cramped London flat, honing in on the increasingly furrowed brows of the guests.

With talent like Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Bruno Ganz, Cherry Jones, Patricia Clarkson and Emily Mortimer on the cast list, you’re know you’re in for a treat and while all of the cast deliver strong performances, it is Clarkson as the razor-tongued April who truly shines, delivering Potter’s razor-sharp script with relish. Cillian Murphy also stands out as the cocaine-snorting banker Tom on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

The only real disappointment is that, with a running time of just over an hour, the actors are never really given the opportunity to fully develop their characters.

That said, THE PARTY boasts enough cheeky narrative twists to keep the energy high, as well as some delightful details, including a superb musical backdrop of jazz, blues and reggae.

(4.5 / 5)

THE PARTY screens at the BFI London Film Festival on 10 October and is released in UK cinemas on 13 October 2017

Donna is the Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she is a digital marketing whizz, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage, The Public Reviews and ScreenRelish. Loves Shakespeare, prosecco and Formula 1