The Winslow Boy | Chicago Reader

The Winslow Boy

It's hard to imagine a more uncharacteristic David Mamet project: an adaptation of a genteel Terence Rattigan play from the mid-1940s about family affection and loyalty (previously adapted for a 1948 film directed by Anthony Asquith), which is based in turn on the 1910 trial of English naval cadet George Archer-Shee for a minor theft—an event that became a national scandal due to the intransigence of both the government and the boy's father. But this may be the most accomplished Mamet movie since House of Games, not only because he works so fruitfully with his excellent cast (Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Gemma Jones, Guy Edwards, and Matthew Pidgeon), but also because he offers a sturdy object lesson in how to attack period material of this kind without self-serving irony or condescension. 110 min.

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