The Winslow Boy Movie Review

David Mamet scores again, and in the unlikeliest of films.

I've known and respected Mamet's directorial work since the gritty House of Games (1987) and have remained a fan through last year's The Spanish Prisoner. Without fail, Mamet works on gritty, hard-edged con-artistry-related flicks like these. So it's with no small amount of skepticism that I greeted the G-rated Winslow Boy.

Call me a fool. Winslow Boy ranks among Mamet's best and is a refreshing change of pace. A period peace set in 1911 London, this is the story of 13-year old Ronnie Winslow, a naval prep school student who is expelled for stealing and cashing a five-shilling note. When Ronnie proclaims his innocence to the very end, the case becomes a cause celebre among the citizens of Britain - something of a former-day O.J. Simpson case, though, this time, the people side with the accused.

Mamet has layered this film, based on the stage play, with myriad levels of nuance, enriching the role of each member of the Winslow family to heights that Hollywood has never dreamed of. As Ronnie's ultimate lawyer, Jeremy Northam does his best work ever, by far. Nigel Hawthorne is similarly fantastic as Ronnie's dad, and as Ronnie himself, Edwards proves there are still a few young faces who can act.

Highly recommended, but don't let the G rating fool you. This is a film for adults about serious situations: Personal liberty, government posturing, political bureaucracy, and justice, of course. I urge you to see it.

Great double feature suggestion: The Butcher Boy on tape, The Winslow Boy in theaters.

The Boy on trial.


Comments

The Winslow Boy Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: G, 1999

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