Drowning by Numbers

1988

Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance

11
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 6530

Synopsis


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Cast

David Morrissey as Bellamy
Joely Richardson as Cissie Colpitts 3
Juliet Stevenson as Cissie Colpitts 2
Bernard Hill as Madgett
1080p
1.84 GB
1920*1080
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 58 min
P/S 11 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Afracious 10 / 10

An intriguing puzzle that's fun to decipher

This is a picture that offers so much to the viewer. It is beautiful, but also, at times, grotesque. It is intriguing and complex, and covers a cornucopia of subjects. The film has an elegant Englishness about it. It is a film that always requires your attention and one that you will want to return to.

The film begins with a young girl (adorned in a dress from Velazquez's painting Las Meninas) who is skipping and counting stars, 100 of them (some of these stars have Greenaway names like Hoyten, Luper and Spica). She is the film's navigator.

The story is about three women, all with the same name, Cissie Colpitts, each from different age groups, who have something in common, they each murder their husbands by drowning them. They escape punishment from this by consenting to the needs of an amorous coroner, Madgett. Madgett's young son, Smut, tells us about different games, each of them rather odd. The film has a wonderful surreal feel to it. For instance, a man and a woman on bicycles collide with two dead cows, but it hardly perturbs them. Throughout the film there are the numbers 1 to 100 placed in ascending order on display in some peculiar positions. It's a fascinating riddle.

Reviewed by KFL 8 / 10

The men play one type of game, the women another

Life's a game, death's a game. This playful little movie is all about games. If you're not a gaming-type person, you might not find this, umm, diverting.

The thoroughly surreal and tongue-in-cheek tone of the movie keeps us from taking it very seriously...all of which is for the best, since that way we don't confuse the plot with serious drama; the games the women play tend toward the homicidal....

Wittgenstein famously pointed out that there are all manner of games in the world--there's no tight set of identifying characteristics; games all have, at most, a "family resemblance". Greenaway has here collected numerous far-flung relatives in this odd family. You'll no doubt appreciate some of them more than others, Well, we all inevitably have favorites.

DbN and Prospero's Books (two very different movies!) are my favorite Greenaway films.

Reviewed by NateManD 10 / 10

Good surprise.

I enjoy the films of Peter Greenaway. "The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover" and "the Pillowbook" are both films that are unique and visionary. Peter Greenaway is like a British David Lynch. Some critics get frustrated by Greenaway, claiming his films are self indulgent. I feel self indulgent is sometimes a good thing, especially when it comes to a breathtaking film like "Drowning by Numbers". The movie is one giant puzzle. There's a girl who jumps rope while counting out the names of the stars by number. Try to see if you can spot all the numbers 1-100 hidden throughout the film. The plot concerns three women, a mother and two daughters. All 3 women are named Cissy. Each woman named Cissy drowns their deadbeat husbands for being unsatisfactory lovers. Magit is the local coroner, and he agrees to keep the murders a secret. He makes a deal to claim each death an accidental drowning, if each Cissy gives him sexual favors in return. So 3 generations of women all named Cissy decide to lead on Magit the coroner without promise. Poor Guy! The coroner's son Smut, is obsessed with death. He plays strange number games and marks roadkill with different colored paint. He also likes to set of fireworks after a death. Not to mention, Smut is also obsessed with circumcision. He's never been circumcised and feels the need to take matters in his own hands, so to speak. Wow, the crazy things men will do for women. Also look for Nip/Tuck actress Joely Richardson as the youngest Cissy. "Drowning by Numbers" is extremely bizarre, and shows that life is a game made up of numbers. It's a brilliant surreal mind-phuk puzzle that you have to watch at least twice to comprehend. Peter Greenaway is very original, with satirical wit and a dark comic edge.

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