The Draughtsman's Contract 2.0 stars

Late-17th-century murder mystery, to which no solution is set forth. For us to be kept in the dark as to who did the evil deed seems admissable if our point of identification is meant to be the man who is framed for it. And insofar as this character -- the uppity draughtsman of the title -- represents the man of the future, the harbinger of social mobility, this would indeed seem to be the case. That the chicaneries of the upper classes should be over his head, and ours, seems part and parcel of the British class consciousness. But we are right to balk when the few puzzle-pieces we are actually given cannot be made to fit in even an only half-completed picture. As far as writer-director Peter Greenaway has pursued his plot -- nowhere near as far as any self-respecting pulp mystery writer would feel duty-bound to pursue it -- it has not been brought to heel. Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman. 1982.

Duncan Shepherd

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