HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Shadow
Christmas Carol, A
Legend of the Demon Cat
Adventures of Sinbad, The
Wounds
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Zed & Two Noughts, A One And One Is OneBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Andréa Ferréol, Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Frances Barber, Joss Ackland, Jim Davidson, Agnès Brulet, Guusje van Tilborgh, Gerard Thoolen, Ken Campbell, Wolf Kahler, Geoffrey Palmer, David Attenborough
Genre: Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Outside the zoo, a car crash has occured when a pregnant swan smashed through the windscreen of a car being driven by Alba Bewick (Andréa Ferreol). The accident has killed the two passengers and caused Alba to lose her leg, something which deeply upsets twin scientists at the zoo, Oswald (Brian Deacon) and Oliver (Eric Deacon) Deuce, because the dead passengers were their wives. This sets them on a path to very strange behaviour as they throw themselves into a shared experiment on decaying dead animals, as if to cathartically rid themselves of their grief, not being able to contemplate their spouses' decomposition in their graves...

In 1985, writer and director Peter Greenaway was riding high both on critical acclaim and cinemagoers' respect, having impressed both with his arthouse hit The Draughtman's Contract, but as if he had thought, well, that was far too accessible, his next project after that was A Zed & Two Noughts, a rarefied exercise in gameplaying with his vast knowledge of the classics and his interest in the less salubrious side of human nature. Indeed, looking back on his career from this point it's hard to find any love in Greenaway's heart for the human race at all, and this standoffish chill informs the tone of a film that divided all those who had thought they were going to like this man's work.

As often with his productions, story took a back seat in favour of a selection of variations on themes such as the overwhelming influence of nature or the duality of twins, so while there was a progression of narrative events to some extent, here there were other things on the director's mind. More important were the images that his imagination could bring up in connection to his subject, so this was less about provoking an emotional reaction and more about prompting mass chin-stroking in the audience as they recognised how daring Greenaway was being. That's daring if you found the idea of, say, Alba disliking the lack of symmetry her body now has by insisting doctors amputate her other leg.

Or if that doesn't float you boat, how about frequently being interrupted in your appreciation of the exquisitely staged visuals by time lapse photography showing the results of those experiments by the Deuces, leaving you wondering how to take seeing a crocodile, a couple of fish, a dog, a zebra, and so on being broken down by decay and maggots, speeded up so that you don't have to wait around too long to see the results. You know that film of the decomposing bowl of fruit that was often shown on television to illustrate the effects of rot? Well, Greenaway certainly did, and took it to new extremes - the impression is that if he could have got away with showing a human corpse wasting away then he would have.

Along with that, one of the other obsessions in a film that is packed with them is the black and white concept, so the idea of an animal that is simultaneously black and white, like an angel fish or some zebras, especially captivates the brothers. To increase the straitjacket of structure on the proceedings, there will be mention of an animal alphabet, not unlike the one Ralph McTell presented on British children's television during the eighties, and it's nice to think that Greenaway was influenced by that even if he wasn't, as according to him there was no such animal beginning with the letter X, whereas according to Ralph you could get X-ray fish, and I know who I prefer to believe. As with a number of films that lean on the experimental side, A Zed & Two Noughts is in danger of getting simply silly - Jim Davidson is in it, for a start - and more likely to leave most viewers cold. But if you want to be tied in intellectual knots by Mr G., dive in: the rest of us might recognise his methods as all too close to the inquiring mind of little boys pulling the wings off flies. Music by Michael Nyman.

[This film never looked better as it does on the BFI Blu-ray, which includes as special features a short film by Greenaway, an introduction to the film by the director, and an audio commentary.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1778 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: