Watch The Caretaker
- 1 hr 45 min
The Caretaker is a British drama film released in 1963, directed by Clive Donner, and starring three of the most reliable and notable actors from that era, Alan Bates, Donald Pleasence, and Robert Shaw. The film is an adaptation of Harold Pinter's play of the same name, which premiered on stage a few years earlier. The story revolves around three men- two brothers, Mick (Alan Bates) and Aston (Donald Pleasence), and a wanderer named Davies (Robert Shaw) who they take in as a lodger. Davies is an old tramp who's been kicked out of his lodging, and with nowhere else to go, he is brought home by Aston, who feels sorry for him. Aston, though generous and gentle, has some psychological issues, and his brother Mick is the complete opposite: outgoing, confident, and impulsive. Despite their differences, the two brothers seem to have a strong bond and a shared outlook towards life.
Davies is initially grateful to Aston for the help but soon becomes suspicious of his motivations. He demands his papers back from a locked suitcase, which Aston reluctantly agrees to open for him. The suitcase contains several layers of garbage, and this sends Davies into a rage, accusing Aston of being a fake and having no right to treat him badly. Davies tries to manipulate the brothers, pitting them against each other, and sowing the seeds of mistrust and paranoia. He claims to be British, but his papers reveal that he's Welsh, which further complicates things.
As the film progresses, we see the shifting dynamics between the three men. Davies, who is full of pride, cunning, and selfishness, starts to reveal his true character, taking advantage of the brothers' vulnerabilities and insecurities. Similarly, the brothers' motives and intentions come under scrutiny, and they try to negotiate their relationship with Davies and each other.
The film is a brilliant and heartbreaking exploration of human relationships, loneliness, and the struggle for power and identity in a world that's both cruel and indifferent. It delves deep into the themes of class, social mobility, and the consequences of personal choice, with an acute and unrelenting look at the human condition.
The Caretaker is a slow-burning but fascinating film that uses its setting and the three central performances to create an intense and immersive drama. The film's direction is excellent, with some inventive and visually striking moments that add depth and nuance to the story.
The cast is also uniformly excellent, with each actor bringing something unique and specific to their role. Alan Bates shines as the charismatic Mick, whose facade hides a dark secret; his performance is full of charm, wit, and menace. Donald Pleasence is remarkable as the enigmatic and damaged Aston, who conveys his inner turmoil with subtlety and restraint. Robert Shaw, in the role of the manipulative and unstable Davies, is both repulsive and sympathetic, a tragic figure in a bleak and uncaring world.
The Caretaker is a film that demands patience, attention, and introspection. It's not an easy watch, but it's a rewarding one, with shades of humor, tragedy, and absurdity that reflect the complexities and contradictions of the human experience. It's a film that stays with you long after the credits roll, a testament to the power of great storytelling and great performances.
In conclusion, The Caretaker is an excellent film that's worth watching for anyone who's interested in the human psyche and the intricacies of human relationships. It's a timeless classic that showcases the talent and artistry of some of the finest actors of their generation.