Movie Magazine International


Britain - 1998

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

Critics around the world both hailed and scolded director Shekhar Kapur for "Bandit Queen," Kapur's raw brutal debut film about a legendary Indian woman who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. Again not entirely subtle yet triumphantly screaming with rebellion and sumptuous splendor is his latest film, "Elizabeth." Teamed up with writer Eric Hirst, Director Kapur follows Elizabeth Tudor's early death-defying years as a princess to her ascension as the Queen of England. With a remarkably talented cast, "Elizabeth" stands out as a hugely entertaining costume drama thick with political maneuvering within the familial framework of the British Monarchy.

The film takes the young breezy Princess Elizabeth played Cate Blanchett and thrusts her into the twisted quest for the throne of 16th century England. Geoffery Rush plays her helpful slithering sage, Sir Walsingham and other fine principle players include Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Fanny Ardent, Richard Attenborough, and Kathy Burke.

Painted richly with dark political alliances, assassinations, and seduction, "Elizabeth" constantly poses the question: "whom can you trust?" Amidst the power play, the film unveils a young woman's anguish without turning the film into a soapy pathetic mess.

The film takes sweeping strides across the core historical events that led to Elizabeth's destiny. Taking full advantage of dark dank castles, encroaching English shores, torture, poison, and ceremonial pomp, the film captures a spirit that might allay even the most hardcore scrutinizing Elizabethan scholars.

Cate Blanchett turns a perfect performance, encompassing Elizabeth's early innocence to her legendary intense practicality. Although lacking in subtle dialogue, the film's flowing simplicity and powerfully engaging momentum makes "Elizabeth" a majestic ode to a unique woman who shaped an era.

© 1998 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 11/18/98

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