Door hinges on dame’s fine effort
A CRYPTIC, claustrophobic drama filmed in Hungary and performed in English. Kind of.
I mention this right up front, if only to warn you that there is some very dodgy voice dubbing in play for selected characters. It gets very distracting when the un- synched begin muttering to one another.
Set at the height of Communist rule, the story of The Door centres on the abrasive influence that a mysterious housekeeper ( Helen Mirren) wields over her employer, a successful novelist named Magda ( Martina Gedeck of The Lives of Others fame).
A grumpy mood piece if there ever was one – Mirren’s character is a glass- totally- empty type – this taciturn affair will take a long time to win you over.
The significance of certain years covered by the screenplay’s extended timeframe might be lost on those who haven’t brushed up on their Hungarian history lately.
Show The Door some patience and you will be rewarded, thanks to two fine lead performances, and the sophisticated directorial eye of Istvan Szabo ( still at the peak of his powers at age 74).