A noble experiment, but the overall effect is one of stupefying dullness
Avant-garde innovator Peter Greenaway revisits his own art school background in this stylised tale of the story behind Rembrandt’s masterpiece, ‘Nightwatching’.
Played out against a backdrop of overtly theatrical tableaux and lit to resemble the moody darkness of the painting itself, Nightwatching is a noble experiment in bringing the inner life of Rembrandt’s work sharply into focus, but the effect is one of stupefying dullness.
The heart of the narrative is Rembrandt’s use of the painting to point the finger at the perpetrators of a series of vile crimes, but the drama is lost in a dissonant medley of scenes and characters whose purpose and relation to one another is never entirely clear. And to cap it all, Martin Freeman gets his knob out. Nobody needed that.