The Party [2017] ★★★

“The Party” is potent and entertaining. I walked in with no particular expectations, having read almost nothing about it, and what I got was a showcase for a host of gifted actors, including Patricia Clarkson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Bruno Ganz, and Cillian Murphy. The title of the movie is self-explanatory: a cabinet politician (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her husband Bill (Spall) are having a few friends over for a dinner party. Over the course of a few hours, old wounds are reopened, and layer by layer, we discover the ugly skeletons in these people’s closets. The cast couldn’t be better, and each one gets a chance to shine in this short (70 minutes) but highly effective film. Writer/director Sally Potter takes a straightforward approach to her material, and for a film that relies so much on dialogue, it flows extremely well. I don’t know if mainstream audiences would feel the same way as I did, but “The Party” held my attention from start to finish. This is pretty good stuff.

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