Downton Abbey: Royal Jousting [Critique]

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Downton Abbey (2019)
Universal Pictures France

The cult series is now available as a feature film. Despite a scenario bordering on indigestion, the charm operates.

Behind Downton abbey, there is Julian Fellowes, an author who knows what he is talking about since, in addition to his functions as actor, screenwriter, producer and director, he sits in the House of Lords from where he can openly observe the royal contests. Fellowes wrote almost twenty years ago for Robert Altman Gosford Park matrix of Downton abbey where it was in the form of a whodunit to explore the relations between masters and servants within a sumptuous property in the English countryside. No real crimes – if not lese majesté – to Downton abbey but the same back and forth between the kitchens and the living rooms where the dishes are passed over the seasons (6) and eras.

The action of the film directed by the American Michael Engler takes place precisely in 1927. “Since Edith’s marriage, much has changed in Downton abbey »Says the synopsis. Those and those who will push the doors of the beautiful residence for the first time do not care, the others already know it. Let’s move on. The idea here is that the king and queen are getting ready to stay at Downton abbey. Fighting commotion. In the basement, the staff bricks already shiny crockery. Upstairs, the beautiful people are busy. Everyone is preparing to give the best of themselves. And patatra, the private staff of the crown disembarks, dictates his law and puts the staff of Downton abbey on the key. A reception that is more royal, is a spectacle. This is what the film describes, which takes the form of a sophisticated comedy that feeds itself into small plots. The “series” effect is in full swing and the scenario never stops adding water to a mill which turns without having to blow too much on it. The whole sins indeed by a narrative excess which ends up turning against a spectator, certainly under the spell, but soon knocked out by an unstoppable mechanism.

Downton Abbey, in theaters September 25, 2019.

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