The Draughtsman's Contract

Watch The Draughtsman's Contract

"A landscape of lust and cunning."
  • R
  • 1982
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 7.2  (10,832)

The Draughtsman's Contract is a period drama film from 1982 directed by Peter Greenaway, tells the story of a talented young artist named Mr. Neville (Anthony Higgins) who is commissioned by Mrs. Virginia Herbert (Janet Suzman) to create a series of twelve drawings of her estate grounds. Mr. Neville takes the job very seriously and starts working on the drawings right away, and he ends up staying at the estate for a few weeks to complete the job.

As Mr. Neville works on the drawings, he begins to encounter a series of mysterious and often controversial events that seem to be intentionally keeping him from finishing the job. While staying at the estate, he witnesses various strange events such as a woman being chased by a horse, a gamekeeper killing rabbits along the estate's riverbank, and a murder of a poacher. Mrs. Herbert forbids Mr. Neville from communicating with anyone about what he sees, creating a sense of isolation and tension, which adds to the film's suspense.

Throughout the course of the story, Mr. Neville also becomes increasingly involved with Mrs. Herbert. They begin to have a flirtatious relationship, which Mrs. Herbert initiates, and he eventually grows infatuated with her. However, this attraction doesn't fully reveal itself until the final scenes of the film, where the reason behind Mrs. Herbert's obsession with the draughtsman and the murders that occurred earlier is revealed.

The film's storyline is beautifully crafted, with intriguing moments and an intelligent script. The sense of mystery and suspense is heightened by the sparse dialogue, which allows the landscape and events to speak for themselves. Greenaway captures the characters in the context of the era well, reflecting their clothes, behavior, and the general world around them. He also makes good use of the surrounding landscape and stunning architecture to enhance the mood.

The movie's central themes revolve around the complex relationship between art, power, and sex. Mr. Neville's art becomes a tool of power, as he holds power over the secrets of the estate and the people living on it. This situation leads to an intelligent and often perverse game of cat and mouse between the draughtsman and Mrs. Herbert, which slowly reveals the nature of their true relationship.

Overall, The Draughtsman's Contract is a fascinating movie that captivates with its suspense, stunning set pieces, and beautiful cinematography. It is recommended for anyone who enjoys unique and thought-provoking films from the 80s or is interested in exploring the themes of art, power, and sex.

The Draughtsman's Contract is a 1982 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

The Draughtsman's Contract
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  • Release Date
    1982
  • MPAA Rating
    R
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
    English
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (10,832)