About The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

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The wife of barbaric crime boss Albert Spica (Michael Gambon as “The Thief”) is exhausted and disgusted by her husband’s boorish lifestyle and violent exploits. Gangster Albert has recently commandeered the high-class Le Hollandais Restaurant from its French chef, Richard Boarst (“The Cook”), and indulges in nightly visits for meals with his thuggish gang of low-life criminals. Forced to dine with these despicable dinner dates, Georgina (Helen Mirren, “The Wife”) begins a secret romance with a bookish regular patron, Michael (Alan Howard, “The Lover”), engaging in adulterous liaisons throughout the restaurant each evening. Despite their efforts to hide the tryst—with the chef’s complicity—Albert eventually discovers the affair. His response is brutal and savagely cruel, but his wife soon develops a devious revenge plan. Greenaway cited the Jacobean play ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore as inspiration for his screenplay, which he intended as a political parable critical of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies that favored the rich. The Michael Nyman score and costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier alongside Sacha Vierny’s lavish cinematography bring to the screen a lustful and visceral experience that Roger Ebert described as “not an easy film to sit through. It doesn’t simply make a show of being uncompromising—it is uncompromised in every single shot from beginning to end.” Contains mature content, including sexual violence, nudity, strong language, and graphic violence. No one younger than 18 will be admitted.

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