By Lawrence O'Toole
Updated February 28, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

Drowning by Numbers

type
  • Movie

Drowning by Numbers is the video brain buster of the year. In Peter Greenaway’s fascinating puzzle picture, three women (Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson, and Joely Richardson), all of them named Cissie, drown their husbands and are later pursued by a coroner friend while a boy named Smut concocts elaborate games involving fireworks, violence, sheep, and cricket. In this comedy of manners — very bad manners — Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) once again invents his own rules. The universe he creates has its own dreamlike logic and a sumptuous visual panache few living filmmakers can rival. And for all its excess and baroque style, it is the emotional theme — we always kill the thing that loves us, rather than the thing we love — that lingers like the taste of a bitter pill. A

Episode Recaps

Drowning by Numbers

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 118 minutes
director
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