Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullan deliver riveting performances in this tale of desire, passion and betrayal that pits upper class against lower class in a superbly staged battle between the sexes. With a script based on August Strindberg's famous play and written for the screen by Helen Cooper, Oscar nominated director Mike Figgis presents a taut and intimate story, holding you with the intensity of his vision and his mastery of nuance from beginning to end. On a late 19th-century estate, a celebration of wine and beer lets loose inhibitions... and inner passions. Jean (Peter Mullan), the Count's footman, takes the advances of the Count's daughter (Saffron Burrows) too far with a scandalous encounter in the kitchen. And over one night, it becomes clear that these two lost souls desperately need each other in order to escape the confines, and trappings, of their lives. But can a servant support a noblewoman, who, without her father's money, is no more privileged than he?
I found this deeply depressing - but fine if that's what you want!
The film is quite brutal and language crude, and the two lead characters appear intent on destroying each other.
It is set almost entirely in a single room, and gives every appearance of being produced on a minimal budget. The characters and plot are inconsistent. The class aspects of the film appear to be delivering a political message, but are so over-done as to be difficult to stomach.