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), based on the real trial of English naval cadet George Archer-Shee in 1910. But this may well 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. He doesn’t lose his stylistic identity either: in addition to the very Mamet-like delivery of unfinished sentences, his command of rhythm and flow remains flawless throughout. Evanston, Pipers Alley.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.