Argentina’s Daniel Tarrab takes time to tango

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Argentinian composer Daniel Tarrab, who has had a long and successful career writing film scores, has released an album of jazz-influenced tango pieces titled ‘Otra Mirada (Another Look)’ on Silva Screen Records.

It shows that the Buenos Aires composer, whose films with Andrés Goldstein include ‘The Whore and the Whale’ (2004),  ‘XXY’ (2007) and ’Wakolda (a.k.a The German Doctor)’ (2013), has brought his usual passion to the project.

The eight tracks veer far away from the classic Piazzolla form of tango and are created specifically to encourage improvisation. Tarrab plays piano and contrabass on the album with Nestor Marconi on bandoneon and Pablo Agri on violin and a string section drawn from the Orquesta Filarmonica Nacional. Together, they make some marvellous music.

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Film Review Brief: Trevor Nunn’s ‘Red Joan’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Trevor Nunn’s slightly old-fashioned espionage drama ‘Red Joan’, which opens in the United Kingdom today, won’t set any box-office records but it is an absorbing drama.

Sophie Cookson (pictured above with Stephen Campbell Moore) is very impressive as idealistic young physicist Joan Stanley who gets involved with a group of intellectual communists at Cambridge just before World War II and ends up in a plot to share the secrets of the atom bomb with the Soviet Union. Tom Hughes and Ben Miles co-star.

The story is told in flashbacks with Judi Dench as the older Joan. Theatre legend Nunn shows he knows about film too. George Fenton’s score is typically evocative. It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018.

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On Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Stanley Kubrick’s controversial ‘A Clockwork Orange’ starring Malcolm McDowell is re-released in the United Kingdom today. As always with Kubrick, it is a striking combination of visual power, evocative music and powerful drama. Now controversial for the right reasons, it remains disturbing but intensely watchable.

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Michael Caine: recalling a class act at the 2000 Oscars

By Ray Bennett

Spending time with Michael Caine is always a pleasure and since today is his 86th birthday, here’s one of my favourite encounters from 2000.

LOS ANGELES – It’s ironic that the word on everyone’s lips following Michael Caine’s acceptance speech at the Oscars on Sunday is ‘class’. It’s a word he’s been battling all his life.

As a Londoner from the wrong side of the tracks, dropping every ‘h’ and ‘g’ in his speech, Caine has run into Britain’s “class” system at every turn. He has observed that while in the States he is recognised as a successful and critically acclaimed star, among the nobs of the U.K. cultural establishment, he’s regarded as a ‘Cockney yobbo’.

That’s not true of the British public for whom Caine’s magnanimous display toward his fellow nominees following his win as best supporting actor for ‘The Cider House Rules’ seems entirely in character. And it didn’t seem to be the case at the annual tea part thrown by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles in Santa Monica on Saturday.

At one point, in quick succession, he was greeted by three venerable British film directors – Guy Green (‘The Angry Silence’), Ronald Name (‘Gambit’) and Ken Annakin (‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’ – who were all quick to congratulate him on his performance in ‘Cider House Rules’.

Caine’s response was typical. ‘Blimey, people ask me what’s happened to the British film industry,’ he grinned. ‘It’s right here in Santa Monica.’

Surrounded by hundreds of admires at the packed tea party, Caine recalled the last he won an Oscar for a supporting role in Woody Allen’s ‘Hannah and her Sisters’ in 1986. He was in the Caribbean working on ‘Jaws: the Revenge’.

‘I’d gone down there to do a couple of days on the movie and it went over,’ he said. ‘The awards used to be on a Monday and I was back her on the Tuesday but I just couldn’t get back in time. There were no planes, there was nothing.’

He didn’t even get to hear his name called out. The only television set as hand had a dodgy antenna. ‘I was fiddling with it and just as they said, ‘The winner is …’ it went crrrrzzzzldd. So I didn’t know. But then I got a phone call immediately. My wife was ringing me so it was all right.’

He was determined to be in Hollywood this time. He completed ‘Shiner’, a new gangster boxing picture in London on March 17 and spent the week before the Oscars sitting by the pool. Soon, he heads to Austin, Texas, to begin rehearsals with Sandra Bullock for a comedy, ‘Miss Congeniality’.

But he must return to England to receive a lifetime achievement award at the British Film Academy Awards on April 9. He will join a list of recipients that includes Sean Connery, Alfred Hitchcock and, last year, Elizabeth Taylor.

The presentation will cap a remarkable two years for Caine in which he received a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and his second Oscar. Many British actors and actresses have been favoured by the Academy over the years but Caine becomes only the second British male to pick up two acting Oscars joining Peter Ustinov, who won for ‘Topkapi’ and ‘Spartacus’.

Not even Laurence Olivier managed that. Talk about class.

This column appeared in The Hollywood Reporter on March 27, 2000.

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FILM REVIEW: Cruz and Bardem in ‘Everybody Knows’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Married Spanish Oscar-winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have become a reliable partnership onscreen and their latest feature together, ‘Everybody Knows’, is a bright addition to their canon. It opens today in the United Kingdom.

Written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (‘The Salesman’, ‘The Past’), it’s a handsome, almost old-fashioned romantic drama that turns into a mystery with the kidnaping of a young woman from a large and colourful wedding reception.

Cruz and Bardem (top with Carla Campara and Sergio Castellanos) play former lovers now married to other people and their relationship is central to the plot, which changes the mood of the film from joyous celebration to sobering fear and consequential examination of family secrets and resentments.

The two stars are matched by a fine cast and the film is shot beautifully by José Luis Alcaine (‘Volver’) with an evocative score by Javier Limón. It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018.

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BAFTA 2019 Film Awards: picks and pans

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Lots of good films and performances this year but some disappointing omissions among the BAFTA Film Awards nominations … good luck to all, especially ‘Roma’ (above) and ‘Cold War’.

Best Film:

Will win: Roma

Should win: Roma

Should have been there: Cold War and First Man

Best British Film:

Will win: The Favourite

Should win: Beast

Should have been there: Colette (right, Keira Knightley, Dominic West)

Best Foreign Language Film:

Will win: Roma

Should win: Roma (just as happy if: Cold War)

Best Director:

Should win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Should win: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (Just as happy if: Paweł Pawlikowski)

Should have been there: Damien Chazelle, First Man

Best Actor:

Will win: Christian Bale, Vice

Should win: Christian Bale, Vice

Should have been there: Tomasz Kot, Cold War; Ryan Gosling, First Man

Best Actress:

Will win: Olivia Colman

Should win: Olivia Colman

Should have been there: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Joanna Kulig, Cold War (right with Tomasz Kott); Keira Knightley, Colette; Jessie Buckley, Beast

Best Supporting Actor:

Will win: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should win: Richard E. Grant

Should have been there: Steve Carell, Vice; Johnny Flynn, Beast; Dominic West, Colette

Best Supporting Actress:

Will win: Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Should win: Rachel Weisz (just as happy if: Amy Adams, Vice, right with Christian Bale)

Should have been there: Marina de Tavira, Roma 

Original Music:

Will win: Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk

Should win: Terence Blanchard, BlackKklansman

Should have been there: Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place; 

Original Screenplay:

Will win: The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara

Should win: Cold War, Janusz Głowacki, Paweł Pawlikowski

Should have been there: Beast, Michael Pearce (right, Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn)

Adapted Screenplay:

Will win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty

Should win: First Man, Josh Singer

Should have been there: Leave No Trace, Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

Best Cinematography:

Will win: Roma, Alfonso Cuaron

Should win: Roma (just as happy if: Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski

Should have been there: Bad Times at the El Royale, Seamus McGarvey

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FILM REVIEW: Adam McKay’s ‘Vice’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – American writer-director Adam McKay’s political satire ‘Vice’ does for Washington what his 2015 film ‘The Big Short’ did for Wall Street with the same mix of techniques that includes sharp humour, characters speaking to camera, flashbacks and sublime acting.

The title stands not only for the immoral and probably illegal mischief of the men who surrounded President George W. Bush but specifically to the humourless mastermind Vice-President Dick Cheney played with uncanny skill by Christian Bale. Like Gary Oldman in ‘Darkest Hour’, Bale overcomes heavy makeup and CGI to achieve marvellous subtlety in a performance in which silence is as powerful as dialogue. ‘Vice’ is much better than the Churchill film, however, and that increases the likelihood that Bale will match Oldman and pick up the major acting awards.

Just as good is the always inventive Amy Adams as Cheney’s wife Lynne, who is even more Machiavellian than her husband. She played a role not too dissimilar in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 film ‘The Master’ but if anything her Lynne Cheney is slyer and more cunning than Peggy Dodd in the earlier picture. As good as Bale is, without histrionics she captures every scene she’s in. Adams, too, will be in line for the top awards.

‘Vice’ follows the Cheneys as Lynne shapes her draft-avoiding, drunken loser husband into the kind of man who could go to school on shrewd cynics such as former Senator Donald Rumsfeld, who became George W.’s secretary of defence, and emerge as the most powerful creature in the White House zoo. Steve Carell also is priceless as Rumsfeld and his reaction when Cheney asks, “What do we believe in?” sums up the entire movie. Sam Rockwell draws smartly on his clueless character in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ for his depiction of W.

McKay’s spry and insightful screenplay shows how Lynne Cheney steered her husband toward positions in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, 10 years in the House of Representatives and senior positions in big business. With a pleasing bit of trickery, McKay suggests that their public life ended when Bill Clinton became president until one day the telephone rang.

All the familiar faces of the era are portrayed – Eddie Marsan as Paul Wolfowitz, Justin Kirk as Scooter Libby, LisaGay Hamilton as Condoleeza Rice, Bill Camp as Gerald Ford, Tyler Perry as Colin Powell, Matthew Jacobs as Antonin Scalia and Alison Pill as the Cheneys’s lesbian daughter Mary, whom they at first supported but then threw under a bus when their daughter Liz ran for election.

Cinematography by Greig Fraser, production design by Patrice Vermette and editing by Hank Corwin are all spot-on and Nicholas Britell’s savvy score mixes jazz, funk and orchestral themes in total sync with McKay’s cockeyed view of these particular affairs of state.

There’s a great deal of comedy in the film – even when Cheney shoots a hunting pal in the face and has regular heart attacks – despite all the tragic implications of the wars the Nixon and Bush administrations pursued in the interests of big oil firms and, in the case of Iraq, for the benefit of multinational destroy-and-rebuild exploitation firm Haliburton, where Cheney had been CEO. Hunger for power is shown as the prime motive but, while it is touched upon, perhaps even more important was sheer, unmitigated greed.

Released: US: Dec. 25 2018 (Annapurna Distribution) / UK: Jan. 25 2019 (eOne); Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, LisaGay Hamilton, Tyler Perry; Director: Adam McKay; Writer: Adam McKay; Director of photography: Greig Fraser; Production designer: Patrice Vermette; Music: Nicholas Britell; Editor: Hank Corwin; Costume designer: Susan Matheson; Producers: Megan Ellison, Will Ferrell, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay, Kevin J. Messing, Brad Pitt; Executive producers: Chelsea Barnard, Jillian Longnecker, Jeff G. Waxman, Robyn Wholey; Production: Annapurna Pictures, Gary Sanchez Productions, Plan B Entertainment; Rating: UK: 15 / US: 18; running time: 132 minutes

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Russell Baker: a gift ‘for fooling around with words’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – The great New York Times columnist Russell Baker, who has died aged 93, was one of my journalistic heroes and when I interviewed him in 1989 he turned out to be everything I’d hoped. He was an old-time newspaperman who never cared about scoops.

When we spoke, he was promoting the second volume of his memoirs, ‘The Good Times’, in which he relates his early days as a police report in Baltimore, his time covering the United States Senate and his stint as a foreign correspondent in London. He was a top reporter at the New York Times in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies covering federal politics and then a three-times a week columnist. He also succeeded Alistair Cook as host of ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ from 1993 to 2004.

“I was never interested in the hell of a big story,” he told me. “That was a nuisance to me very often. I didn’t think scoops were important. I was interested in being a story-teller. I was interested in the kind of event where if you could bring it to life for people, you could a make a story of it in the paper.  It didn’t matter to me that you were one day ahead of the opposition. It just didn’t matter. What mattered to me was telling the audience clearly what happened yesterday, making them understand it. I thought that was the real mission of journalism.”

He became known as a humorist, and he was a top-notch one. His tale of seeing a spud fall from a high rise onto a pedestrian – potato mashes man – was a classic. But he spent much of his life as a serious reporter. “Covering the Senate, I thought it was really important to make people understand why a certain piece of legislation was important and what was going on. I spent a lot of my time covering the various civil rights bills, which were going nowhere but I thought were important and people ought to know about that. The reason more people don’t care is that it’s not presented in a way than interests anybody. People don’t read it. I was interested in finding ways to get them interested.”

He bemoaned the lack of competition in newspapers in America. One of the flaws in American journalism … “and there are many” … and one that always irritated him peculiarly, he said, was the “so-called passion for what we call objective journalism. It assumes that we have tablets down from … where do tablets come from, Sinai? … wherever, every morning. You know: This is the truth! Our editors have not polluted it in any way: This is what happened! And that is a fraudulent way to come on. You get that because of the loss of competition.

“The reporter is trying to conceal what feelings he has, the judgments he’s made. It’s a terribly distorting, suppressing kind of theory to operate under. American journalists always say that they’re trying to get to the truth. Well, that’s absurd. If you want truth then go and study philosophy, why don’t you. What we’re doing is a mishmash of facts and probably getting most of them wrong. I’ve been a reporter long enough to know that you’re out there on a shoeshine and a smile a lot of the time. You’re working on three facts trying to pretend you know 10,000.”

Baker said that he wandered into journalism without any real sense of direction. “I knew very early that if I had any talent whatever it was for doing things in writing, for fooling around with words. I was terrible in science. I couldn’t become a doctor. I was not a systematic thinker. I could not become a lawyer. I had no interest whatever in business. I had very few talents but the one thing I recognised was some skill, some ability, to work with words.”

He said he wasn’t dismayed that most people had started to get most of their information from television and perhaps now he would have said the same about the internet. “Most people? It doesn’t matter, does it? I mean, in the Dark Ages a handful of monks kept civilisation alive. Those others who were all pillaging and plundering, murdering the men, raping the women, stealing the cattle, their modern counterparts are people who get their information about the world from local TV. It doesn’t matter. Civilisation is preserved and forwarded by a small number of people, and they read newspapers.”

What did matter to him, as a great believer in Anglo-Saxon as opposed to Latinate English, was the way the English language was deliberately mangled, especially in Washington, DC. “The kind of English spoke n Washington is designed to conceal your thought to often to conceal that you have no thought. Nothing is ever ‘done’, things are ‘implemented’. You don’t ‘use’ things in Washington, you ‘utilise’ them. It sounds very learned. My God, it sounds important to utilise something and then implement it. Then you finalise it. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything.”

Here’s the New York Times obituary

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‘Roma’, ‘The Favourite’, ‘Cold War’ top London critics awards

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – There were few surprises at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards on Sunday as Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white Spanish drama ‘Roma’ won best picture and he was named best director while costume romp ‘The Favourite’ picked up four prizes including best British/Irish film and Polish drama ‘Cold War’ won two including best foreign-language film. Pedro Almodóvar (pictured above with Judi Love and Tamsin Greig) accepted the annual Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Filmmaking.

It was a warm and entertaining evening with an effervescent host in the form of comic Judi Love, who noted proudly that she was the first woman to be solo host of the event and the first black person. With no film axes to grind, she made the most of being a stranger in a strange land with an absence of awe, appealing self-deprecation and a willingness to not to take things too seriously.

‘The Favourite’ director, Yorgos Lanthimos, was on hand to collect his award as were Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, who won the screenplay award for the picture. Olivia Colman, named best actress, and Rachel Weisz (pictured above with Colman), who won as best supporting actress, both sent thanks via video. Lanthimos noted that “growing up in Greece, I never expected to be here making a film about Queen Anne”, and with an eye to current events he said he hoped he would be able to stay. 

Cuaron (pictured above on set with Yalitza Aparicio) sent video messages in response to his two awards in which he thanked his cast especially but also film critics for “the important role they play in bringing audiences to films that are unfamiliar”. Nicolás Celis, one of the film’s producers, was there and he praised the filmmaker along with his fellow producers and said “it would not have been possible without hundreds of people but especially two special actresses (best actress nominee Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira.

Pawel Pawlikowski was there to accept both prizes for ‘Cold War’ including the technical achievement award, which went to cinematographer Lukasz Zal in a field that included several different crafts. The British-based Polish filmmaker noted that “Polish isn’t such a foreign language here any more” and he thanked his producers and his cast, especially best actress nominee Joanna Kulig (pictured above with co-star Tomasz Kot). He dedicated his award to the late British journalist Nick Roddick, “a wonderful man who gave me my first job”.

Best actor Ethan Hawke (left) was the one real surprise with his win for ‘First Reformed’. He sent his thanks by video as did veteran filmmaker Agnes Varda, whose film with French photographer JR, ‘Faces Places’, was named best documentary somewhat surprisingly over Peter Jackson’s ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’.

Popular winner as best supporting actor for ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Richard E. Grant was there in fine form: “This almost 62 year-old awards nominee virgin is very willing to be plundered by your plaudits.” When he planted kisses on both of Judi Love’s cheeks, she complained that he’d missed a couple of cheeks and so the ever-willing Grant rushed back to the stage to oblige.

Rupert Everett, who won as British/Irish actor of the year for his Oscar Wilde film ‘The Happy Prince’, sent a video but also his friend, actress Emily Watson, who read a note from him in which he said “to win this is literally incredible” and he thanked his entire cast and crew as “without them I would be dead meat”. 

Jersey-born director Michael Pearce accepted the Philip French Award as breakthrough British/Irish filmmaker for his crime mystery “Beast’. He noted that first-time feature film directors “get really nervous about what the critics will say” and said he was honoured to be in the company of the other nominees. His Irish star Jessie Buckley (pictured below with co-star Johnny Flynn) sent a video in which she said she was “shocked, honoured, surprised and overwhelmed to be considered among the other nominees” (Emily Blunt, Olivia Colman, Claire Foy and Rachel Weisz).

Molly Wright (right) accepted the award as young British/Irish performer of the year for her role in the religious drama ‘Apostasy’ and Canadian-born Lara Zeidan accepted her award for British/Irish short film for the London Film School multi-award winner ‘Three Centimetres’. 

The climax of the evening came when Tamsin Greig presented the annual Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Filmmaking to Oscar- and BAFTA-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (pictured with me below). The actress lamented that she had not appeared in any of his movies “probably because I don’t speak Spanish” but said she was proud to have appeared in the musical version of his film ‘Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ on the West End stage in 2010. She introduced clips from several Almodóvar films from ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down’ to ‘All About My Mother’, ‘Volver’ and ‘Broken Embraces’ and told the assembled critics, “At a time when Europe seems in danger of splintering, you recognise a great international filmmaker, a true champion of cinema”.

Looking spry at 69, the filmmaker took time from post-production of ‘Pain & Glory’ starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas to accept the award. He recalled watching films as a youngster when he and his friends would sneak into the side of a cinema where “there was pee, jasmine and a summer breeze, that’s what I remember”. 

He said that his love of “explosive, exaggerated colour” in his films was in reaction to his discovery that his mother had worn only black for  30 years of her life as she was in mourning. “It’s my way of giving her colour,” he explained. He said he was saddened by the disappearance of movie houses especially in rural Spain but also in Madrid. “I cannot conceive of my life without the cinema,” he said. “We need to see ourselves on a screen that is bigger than we are in mirrors and on mobile phones. The screen should be much bigger than you.”

The 2019 awards took place at London’s May Fair Hotel with principal sponsor Dover Street. Here is the full list of winners:

Film of the Year – Roma

Foreign Language Film of the Year – Cold War

Documentary of the Year – Faces Places

British/Irish Film of the Year – The Favourite

Director of the Year – Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Screenwriter of the Year – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite

Actress of the Year – Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Actor of the Year – Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Supporting Actress of the Year – Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Supporting Actor of the Year – Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

British/Irish Actress of the Year – Jessie Buckley, Beast

British/Irish Actor of the Year – Rupert Everett, The Happy Prince

Young British/Irish Performer of the Year – Molly Wright, Apostasy

Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year – Michael Pearce, Beast

Technical Achievement of the Year – Lukasz Zal (cinematography), Cold War

British/Irish Short Film of the Year – Lara Zeidan, Three Centimetres

Dilys Powell Award – Pedro Almodóvar

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FILM REVIEW: Josie Rourke’s ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

By Ray Bennett

LONDON – Josie Rourke’s pedestrian costume saga ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ offers a revisionist and modernist view of the would-be monarch who threatened Elizabeth I’s reign and was executed aged 44 in 1587 but it fails to convince.

Based on the 2004 history ‘’Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart’ by John Guy, it argues that Mary Stuart, the only surviving daughter of James V who became Queen of Scotland as an infant, had a greater claim to the English throne and would have made a better queen than Elizabeth. Writer Beau Willimon’s screenplay even has Elizabeth agree with that assessment.

The film touches on the very serious issue of the French Catholics who backed Mary and sought to end the Reformation in England but it focuses on the personal conflict between Elizabeth and Mary and their different personalities. Mary is strong-willed, independent and wise while Elizabeth is lonely, isolated and anxious and both of them take on duplicitous and ruthless men. Mary takes her pleasures and husbands hungrily and is fertile while stilted Elizabeth is desperate to conceive but cannot find a match.

Saiorse Ronan (top) plays Mary as a bright and imaginative young woman with a very strange accent that slips from Irish to Scots even though Mary grew up in France. Margot Robbie (below) is Elizabeth, her face painted white to obscure pox marks, and the Australian actress strives distractingly for posh Received Pronunciation.

The cast features good actors such as Guy Pearce, Joe Alwyn, Martin Compston, Brendan Coyle and James McArdle, and they are all fine if colourless. Jack Lowden plays Mary’s second husband Lord Darnley as a weakling and a chancer and David Tennant pops up every so often to rant and rave as the Protestant cleric John Knox. Max Richter’s score is efficient but unmemorable.

With many debates and arguments and dull battle sequences, the staging and framing by first-time director Rourke, artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse theatre company, lack cinematic power.

Like Charles Jarrott, who directed the 1971 ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’ starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth, Rourke is unable to resist contriving a meeting between the two that never happened. Coming towards the end of the picture, this scene is staged in a large room with strange billowing curtains. Despite wearing the crown, Elizabeth appears anxious and intimidated and Mary swans about as if she expects everyone to bow down to her will. Sadly, the young woman appears almost delusional in her arrogance, which cannot have been the filmmakers’ intent.

Released: UK: Jan. 18 2019 (Universal Pictures) / US: Dec. 21 2018 (Focus Features); Cast: Saiorse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce; Jack Lowden; Joe Alwyn; David Tennant; Director: Josie Rourke; Writer: Beau Willimon, based on ‘Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart’ by John Guy; Director of photography: John Mathieson; Production designer: James Merifield; Music: Max Richter; Editor: Chris Dickens; Costume designer: Alexandra Byrne; Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward; Production: Focus Features, Perfect World Pictures, Working Title Films; Rating: UK: 15 / US: R; running time: 124 minutes

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