LA REINE MARGOT (1994)

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Patrice Chereau directs and co-writes this historical French epic melodrama.

Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas and set in Paris in 1572, this tells the story of real characters and events during the reign of Charles IX, specifically the powerplay between the Catholics (the monarchy) and the protestants (the Huguenots).

With such a rich history of the monarchy filled with intrigue, drama, betrayal and murder it stands to reason that the French would do justice to the material.

Catherine De Medici played with scheming depth by Virna Lisi marries off her daughter, Margot (the stunning Isabelle Adjani) to the Huguenot, Henri De Navarre (another brilliant performance by Daniel Auteuil) in order to broker a peace deal but when Catherine organises the St Bartholemew Day Massacre, chaos ensues. Margot, who does not love her betrothed, begins an affair with the handsome soldier; La Mole (Vincent Perez) as political intrigue, plotting and power play ensues.

Cyrano De Bergerac came out 4 years earlier and set the bar high for well-made, historical, French films. The cast are all excellent and are let down by the slightly pedestrian way that the story is told. It comes across as melodrama and reminds one of an historical television drama. When I first saw this in 1994, I was enamoured by the world and the intrigue as well as the acting. Seeing it over 20 years later, the holes become more apparent.

Special mention must go to Jean-Hughes Anglade (Betty Blue, Braquo) who plays the weak king, Charles IX. His journey is by far the most interesting which is due to his powerhouse performance.

If you’re a fan of the historical epic, then check this out, it’s markedly better than most of the recent fare.

3.5/5

BUY THE BLU RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

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PREDESTINATION (2014)

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“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

Directed and written by The Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter) and filmed in Australia, this time travel adventure will undoubtedly rattle your brain and get you thinking but not without totally entertaining you. Based on the short story ‘All You Zombies’ by the famous sci-fi writer, Robert A Heinlein, this adaptation sticks very closely to the source material.

Ethan Hawke is The Barkeep who works for the temporal bureau, an agency that stops crimes before they happen; he has a mission that becomes clear as the film progresses. Sarah Snook is The Unmarried Mother who meets Hawke in a bar and begins to tell him her story. The joy in experiencing this story is the in the viewing, so no more plot for you, needless to say time travel is involved.

This sits comfortably with the Primers and Coherences of this world; low budget, whip-smart and very well written and realised.

This film belongs to Snook, who is given a chance to show off her range as a talent that we shall be definitely seeing more of. Hawke is, as usual, dependable and grounds the film with his acting skills and experience. Noah Taylor plays Mr Robertson, Hawke’s boss who keeps his cards close to his chest.

Predestination is a welcome addition to Australian film showing that with a little bit of intelligence, talent and skill, there is a place on the world’s cinema stage for the antipodeans. Of late, the Australian’s have failed to light up the world with anything other than local fare. Filled with American accents, this feels like an American film, albeit without the studio money behind it.

It should only be a matter of time before the big American studios take notice of the sibling directors, and Miss Snook will surely get a look in as well.

If you’re interested in an intelligent film that will both entertain and brush the cobwebs off your brain, then this one’s for you.

4/5

BUY THE BLU RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE