Directed by Peter Greenaway • 1989 • United Kingdom
Starring Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Richard Bohringer
Peter Greenaway found unexpected mainstream success with this simultaneously seductive and shocking tale of sex, food, and violence. Fed up with her husband’s boorish lifestyle, the wife (Helen Mirren) of a barbaric crime boss (Michael Gambon) enters into a torrid, secret romance with a bookish stranger (Alan Howard) between meals at her husband’s restaurant—setting the stage for a deliciously perverse drama of Jacobean revenge. A banquet of slashing wit and lavish grotesquerie, THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER stands as perhaps the most audacious provocation from one of cinema’s most uncompromising masters.