18 August 2017

LADY MACBETH. (2016) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




LADY MACBETH. (2016) BASED ON THE NINETEENTH CENTURY NOVELLA CALLED: 'LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK DISTRICT' BY NIKOLAI LESKOV.
DIRECTED BY WILLIAM OLDROYD. WRITTEN BY ALICE BIRCH. PRODUCED BY FODHLA CRONIN O'REILLY.
STARRING FLORENCE PUGH, COSMO JARVIS, PAUL HILTON, NAOMI ACKIE AND CHRISTOPHER FAIRBANK.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'She hounded me. She suffocated me and
then she never let me be. She's a disease.'

A brilliantly chilling subversion of a classic’★★★★★
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

'Mesmerising' ★★★★★
Tim Robey, THE TELEGRAPH

Madame Bovary meets Thérèse Raquin with a splash of Lady Chatterley in a pared-down period piece that packs a potent punch’
TOTAL FILM

Woo-hoo, now this is the stuff. This is what I'm talking about. What I'm nearly always talking about, haha, as my regular readers might well know. Sex, violence, murder, lovely period (snigger, I said period!) costumes, more sex, domestic violence, backstairs intrigue, gorgeous scenery and stunning interiors and above all, still more sex. Tons more sex. As Homer Simpson might one day say: 'Mmmm, donuts...!' Hang on, I mean 'Mmmm, sex...!'

It was written by a woman- of course!- with the delightfully suggestive name of Alice Birch. Sounds like a strict Victorian governess, doesn't she? I wonder if I can book myself in for a few little discipline sessions...? Haha, I'm only kidding. I already have a regular person for all that kind of thing. Haha, only kidding again. Or am I? You guys will never know...

Anyway, when I say that it was obviously written by a woman, what I mean is this. Only a woman writer knows what another woman wants to see in a film. Sex, intrigue, lovely dresses and maybe a bit of murder evolving from the illicit sex. And that's that.

This film has all those things. A male writer would almost certainly have added in some boring politics or a bit about the Industrial Revolution that was taking place in England at the time or even a hunting scene. I loathe hunting scenes. So bloody barbaric, for one thing. But these period dramas nearly always seem to have at least one bloody hunting scene in them. Maybe it's the law...!

Or maybe a male writer would have wanted to include some social commentary, stuff about the class divide. I think Ms. Birch's superbly-written scenes manage this perfectly adequately all by themselves. I swear to God, if Alice Birch turns out to be a clever pseudonym for Joe Bloggs or Johnny Q. Blowjob, I'll flip my lid altogether. She has to be a woman, she just has to be!

Anyway, we're in Victorian England in 1865, neither a good time nor place to be a woman, whether white or black, but especially black. Katherine is a beautiful, feisty young woman who finds herself married to a man twice her age who doesn't love her at all. Katherine is the kind of woman who needs to be loved, and loved hard, by a man. As many times a day as he can manage it too. She's insatiable, this one. A man would be hard put to keep up with her between the auld sheets, the randy little hussy.

Unluckily for our Kate, her ineffectual husband is as impotent as, well, as the most
impotent thing you can think of. You'll get a real giggle, as well as maybe a shiver or two of revulsion, when you see the only way he can-ahem- bring himself off, tee-hee.

When the husband goes off on one of his frequent unexplained jaunts, Katherine loses no time in choosing one of his estate workers for her lover. The toxic, predominantly sexual affair brings catastrophe to all those affected by it...

Christopher Fairbanks, who used to play Moxie in AUF WIEDERSEHEN PET back in the day, is brilliant as Katherine's horrible father-in-law. He's cold, unwelcoming and abusive and he even blames her for his impotent son's inability to father an heir. He also treats the black maid Anna like a non-person or even an animal, both because of her colour and her lowly station in life.

Both Katherine and Anna, in fact, as the main two women in the film, are treated as the mere chattels or possessions of men. There's nothing much that poor Anna can do about her subordinate position in life, but Katherine at least tries to claw something back for herself, in the form of the sexy bit-of-rough in her husband's employ, Sebastian.

I always thought that that was a posh bloke's name, by the way, like Sebastian Flyte out of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED? He's a fine thing, though, with a great body that lends itself rather well to charging around bedrooms in the nip like a headless chicken, heh-heh-heh.

The film is not really based on William Shakespeare's MACBETH, but Katherine certainly has a few traits in common with the original Lady Macbeth. She was a woman with more balls than her husband, even if it did all go horribly wrong for her in the end, and she had no qualms about killing her way to the title of Scotland's First Lady when Mr. Macbeth proved himself somewhat unequal to the task. Katherine likewise doesn't mind breaking a few laws of the land to get to where she wants to be. Blood will flow, dear readers. Blood will undoubtedly flow...

LADY MACBETH is quite similar in intent and appearance to director Sophie Barthes' (see, another woman!) recent cinematic interpretation of Gustave Flaubert's novel, MADAME BOVARY. I liked both films immensely and will now forever associate them with each other.

Both beautifully-shot movies portray sex and intrigue within- and without!- the strict confines of the Victorian marriage (though MADAME BOVARY is set in France and not stuffy old England, the same restrictions apply to Madame Bovary as to Katherine Lester in LADY MACBETH), and both films show us what happens to women who try to break free of their chains and their cripplingly breath-restricting corset laces.

There's one rather stunning instance of the creepy phenomenon known as Victorian post-mortem photography in the film, one use of the 'f' word (which I didn't know had been even invented then, I swear to God!) and one shockingly crude use of the 'c' word. (Ditto the 'c' word, I nearly choked on my f***ing muffin...!)

The swears notwithstanding, LADY MACBETH is a magnificent film. Not a car chase or silly explosion in sight. Do yourself a favour, ladies, and any liberal-minded chaps who might feel so inclined. Watch it now.
ALTITUDE DISTRIBUTION ANNOUNCES 21ST AUGUST
BLU-RAY™ AND DVD RELEASE DATE FOR
LADY MACBETH
BLU-RAY™ AND DVD BONUS FEATURES
Audio Commentary with William Oldroyd, Alice Birch and Florence Pugh
Filmed Interview With Florence Pugh & William Oldroyd
Making of (Poss Bonus footage and Interview from the V&A screening)
Creative England, BBC Films and BFI present in association with Oldgarth Media
A Sixty Six Pictures & iFeatures Production
 DIRECTED BY WILLIAM OLDROYD
WRITTEN BY ALICE BIRCH
PRODUCED BY FODHLA CRONIN O’REILLY

FLORENCE PUGH, COSMO JARVIS
PAUL HILTON, NAOMI ACKIE & CHRISTOPHER FAIRBANK

Based on the Nineteenth Century Novella LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK DISTRICT
BY Nikolai Leskov



AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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