You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Old Times

Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn't make "Old Times" less of a slog.

Cast:
Cast: John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan, Miranda Richardson.

Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog.

Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten the superrealist effect but not the emotional wallop the stage play can release. It all makes for 90 very long minutes in which Pinter comes off as Rod Serling for the Me Decade.

“Old Times” is a lovers triangle as only this playwright could imagine it. The play is set in the country home of Deely (Malkovich) and Kate (Nelligan), where they are visited by Kate’s oldest friend, Anna (Richardson), absent 20 years.

In a series of exchanges that suggest endlessly shifting alliances over the course of the evening, the only thing that becomes clear is that Deely and Anna are battling for control over, ownership of or title to Kate’s affections.

They recall their first meeting, their salad days — each, of course, dredging up the kinds of different but conflicting “facts” that put memory itself in question. This is the material Pinter made his early name on, a tremendously theatrical, slightly menacing variation, after all, on “I Remember It Well” jazzed up with the addition of a visitor who threatens to upset domestic tranquility.

To be sure, each member of this stellar trio has a moment or two, as when Richardson and Malkovich fracture Cole Porter, the Gershwins, et al., as Nelligan listens — at first bemusedly but then with accruing disjunction as the atmosphere grows increasingly sinister.

Nelligan is especially riveting throughout; she alone among the three has a mesmeric relationship with the television camera (remember “Therese Raquin”?

Otherwise, the trademark pauses, long reaction shots and jagged music add up to what could easily be passed off as a Pinter parody. This is one for the archivists.

Old Times

Mon. (19), 7-8:30 p.m. (PDT), Bravo; repeats Tues. (20) 12-1:30 a.m., Thurs. (29), 8-9:30 p.m.

Production: Texas Performing Arts Showcase presentation of the BBC2 "Performance" production of the Harold Pinter play. Adapted for television by Pinter. Directed and produced by Simon Curtis.

Crew: Camera, David Bowden, Ian Head; sets, Barbara Grosnold; lighting, Clive Thomas; costumes, Jason Wadge; technical director, Geoff Feld; music, Jeremy Sams.

Cast: Cast: John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan, Miranda Richardson.

More TV

  • Jeffrey Tambor

    Jeffrey Tambor Departs 'Transparent' Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

  • EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit

    Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit for $13 Million

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

  • Eminem & Skylar Grey Perform 'Walk

    Eminem and Skylar Grey Perform 'Walk on Water,' 'Stan,' 'Love The Way You Lie' on 'Saturday Night Live' (Watch)

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

  • 'Saturday Night Live' Addresses Al Franken

    'Saturday Night Live' Addresses Al Franken Sexual Assault Allegations: 'This is Bad' (Watch)

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1731

    'Saturday Night Live' Spies on a Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr and Julian Assange (Watch)

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

  • Lena Dunham

    Lena Dunham Apologizes for Defending 'Girls' Writer Accused of Sexual Assault

    Although Harold Pinter adapted his 1970 play for this television presentation , even the intriguing casting of John Malkovich, Kate Nelligan and Miranda Richardson doesn’t make “Old Times” less of a slog. Staged by Simon Curtis, the performances are almost unrelievedly mannered, and the added intimacies of tight close-ups, telegraphic music and portentous cuts heighten […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content