The Grotesque

Watch The Grotesque

"Gentlemen don't eat poets."
  • R
  • 1995
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 5.5  (674)

The Grotesque is a British film released in 1995, directed by John-Paul Davidson, based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath. It is a gothic-style mystery with a touch of dark humor, starring Alan Bates, Theresa Russell, and Sting. The story centers around Sir Hugo Coal, played by Alan Bates, a wealthy and eccentric aristocrat living in a decaying mansion in rural England. Sir Hugo is a lover of the arts and the grotesque, and he has an extensive collection of macabre artefacts, such as taxidermy animals, antique weapons, and erotic statues. He also has a taste for scandalous parties involving his equally eccentric friends and family members.

When Sir Hugo's daughter Harriet, played by Emily Woof, brings home a new fiancé, Fledge, played by Sting, things start to get complicated. Sir Hugo's wife, a former actress named Lady Harriet Coal, played by Theresa Russell, takes an immediate dislike to Fledge, who she believes is a low-class musician. However, Sir Hugo sees something in him that he likes and invites Fledge to stay at the house to work on his musical genius.

Shortly after Fledge arrives, the head of the household staff, Maitland, played by Jim Carter, is found murdered in the woods. The police are called in to investigate, and suspicion falls on Fledge, who doesn't have an alibi for the night of the murder. As the investigation progresses, secrets are revealed, relationships are tested, and Sir Hugo's world starts to unravel.

One of the strengths of The Grotesque is its unique visual style. The film is set in a dark and moody English countryside, and the production design is filled with detailed and interesting objects, providing a fascinating backdrop for the action. The costumes are also a highlight, with a combination of vintage and modern clothes creating an intriguing clash of styles.

The cast of The Grotesque is another highlight of the film. Alan Bates is perfectly cast as Sir Hugo, bringing just the right level of eccentricity and menace to the character. Theresa Russell is also excellent as Lady Harriet, conveying both her vulnerability and her fierce determination. Emily Woof is a refreshing presence as the quirky and free-spirited Harriet.

Sting provides an unusual casting choice as Fledge; he is not a natural actor, but he brings a certain charm and charisma to the role that makes it work. His music is also used effectively in the film, adding to the overall mood of the piece. While his role is not central to the plot, it provides an interesting counterpoint to the other characters.

The Grotesque is a film that rewards patient viewers. While the plot can be slow-moving at times, the atmosphere and characters are engaging enough to keep the audience hooked. The mystery element of the film is handled well, with just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end.

In conclusion, The Grotesque is a little-known gem of a film that is worth seeking out for fans of gothic-style mysteries. It is a visually striking and well-acted film that delivers on both style and substance. While it may not be for everyone, for those who appreciate this type of film, it is a must-see.

The Grotesque
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.5  (674)