Joe's Palace (2007)

Michael Gambon, Danny Lee Wynter, Rupert Penry-Jones, Kelly Reilly,
Joe's Palace is a TV movie starring Michael Gambon, Danny Lee Wynter, and Rupert Penry-Jones. A drama centered on the relationship between Elliot Graham (Sir Michael Gambon), a strange and wealthy Londoner, and Joe Dix (Danny Lee...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2020-05-22 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Stephen Poliakoff, Director:
  • Deborah Jones, Producer:
10 / 10

Sorry to see it end..

It's always a bit of a surprise to visit here after I've seen a wonderful movie. There are intelligent people that see it through eyes that are as valid as mine, yet they saw nothing as I did.

I think it would be wise not to take too much from any of the reviews that you see here. If you are one of the lucky ones that see the film as I did, you will be rewarded by an experience that's as full as "Howard's End". If not, you'll likely know within the first 15 minutes and you can do something else.

I thought the acting was as good as anything I've seen in the past couple of years. It wasn't just Gambon, it was pretty much across the board. Wynter was unbelievably good. Kelly Reilly was perfect.

If you haven't read the spoilers yet, don't. This movie is subtle. Give it a try.

3 / 10

Empty streets, empty film

Michael Gambon is one of Britain's finest actors, and Stephen Poliakoff one of our more interesting dramatists; but rubbish is rubbish, and sadly, 'Joe's Palace' is not very good. Polliakoff has for a long time been interested in the aesthetics of aristocracy (and concordantly sympathetic to the beautiful), but in this film, he indulges these sentiments in the absence of any meaningful context. A reclusive billionaire does nothing with his life because he is consumed by what he fears his father might have done, although he apparently has no idea what this might have been; several historians fail to discover anything, but the girl from the local deli proves a better researcher than them and discovers that the father had been sympathetic to Nazi values; despite having always assumed that his Dad had been a Nazi collaborator anyway, this persuades the billionaire to think of suicide, although not very hard. Then he gives away a tiny proportion of his wealth (some things his father has stolen) and lives happily every after. Meanwhile, he employs a collection of social misfits (a familiar Poliakoff theme) to staff a huge London house he keeps empty; one of them, Joe, a young man with learning difficulties, is patronised by everyone telling him "what a bright boy" he is and watches silently everything that happens, commenting innanely in his diary but somehow becoming everyone's confident. A slick politician (played by Rupert Penry-Jones, who invests his lines with exaggerated faux-earnestness) and his beautiful mistress (plated by Kelly Reily, who emotes breathlessly but is also unconvincing), also feature for little apparent reason. Meanwhile, everywhere is empty: not just the house, but the streets and parks of London; in every scene, the background is blank, so the Polliakoff can maintain his trademark atmospherics, although you'll never see real life looking like this. The film as whole, meanwhile, is self-important but no less empty, devoid of real meaning and life, with no real dialogue (a scattering of monologues substitute for it) and, criminally for a film starring Gambon, desperately dull.

10 / 10

Just a perfect drama...

I agree with the first review here- I didn't want the film to end. All of the characters seem very realistic to me; the plot feels real; the performances are very focused and sincerely done, especially that of Michael Gambon, who really shines but is sly and subtle in this performance; the writing is very mature and paced very well. I didn't read any hints or reviews in advance so the turn in the plot near the end truly shocked and saddened me. I chose to view it because Janet Suzman recommended the author's work to me. Overall, I found the writing and the entire production to be very powerful. It haunted me for quite some time. Thank you, Ms. Suzman, for your advice, and makers of this work for a finely made film! (It's still available on HBOGO.)

6 / 10

Theres always a House thats kinda Mysterious...But

Then theres a really, REALLY, thick headed kid that you just hate for most of the movie. His mom kinda sells him off in a way, but at least he has a good job all of the sudden without needing to have finished high school. Right?Well...its easy enough to do, but again, the kid is dumb as hell.Theres little in the way of any responsible adults around as they all are either complacent, home wrecking, apathetic, tired and distraught, oblivious, or just senile.The perfect environment for a slow young fella that needs to still grow and develop into adulthood.The movie is like a Jane Austin adaptation, but instead of the painfully obvious over dramatic insipid romantic angle, this film just goes nowhere. Except to the local deli. Again. And again. And then wanders around town looking for a friend. I cant even call these spoilers, because though I am not telling anything truly revealing here, there really isnt much to tell. Yet IRONICALLY I LIKED THIS FILM BEFORE THE END! Theres a sequel too which sucked, and also involved way too much freedom of entrance unto others properties as a shabby premise. WHOOPS. Was that a spoiler though? I dont care. Watch this with a good few drinks in you. Otherwise, you will just be lost and angry most of the time.