The Party is a fiercely-sharp, stripped-back 71 minutes of witty, blacker-than-coal comedy and political quips, focusing on an intimate soiree in the London home of cabinet politician Janet who has just been appointed shadow health minister. Unfolding in real time in black and white, a host of guests, played by an all-star cast, arrive one by one while announcements and revelations soon spill out of reserved conversation into farcical mayhem. Kristin Scott Thomas leads as Janet but the strength of the performances (filmed over just 12 days) is an ensemble effort with Timothy Spall as her distant husband Bill, Patricia Clarkson as her nihilist friend Jenny and Bruno Kranz as barmy humanist husband Gottfried, Cherry Jones is post-menopausal Martha, an old friend of Bill’s, there along with her pregnant partner played by Emily Mortimer, and Cillian Murphy has a lot of fun with a constantly sweating, fidgeting, expensively suited finance man Tom. Impeccably executed and laugh-out-loud funny, the film roots out an array of human insecurities from ageing to fidelity and clashes of ideals and ideas (the Brexit result emerged during filming) with class and panache.
The eighth feature film from legendary British filmmaker Sally Potter, The Party had its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. I was able to sit down with Potter herself to discuss why she wanted to make the movie, the experience of working with such an incredible ensemble cast from Kristin Scott Thomas to Cillian Murphy and the joy of knowing your film has had audiences in stitches.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 13th October 2017.
The Party is released nationwide on 13th October 2017.