Mary Queen of Scots is a historical drama directed by Josie Rourke and written by Beau Willimon, based on John Guy’s biography, Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. This film is a period piece and takes place in the 1500s chronicling the 1569 conflict between Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. It could be considered a tragedy based on a true story but historically incorrect which caused some adverse reviews from critics. However it’s a worth while film that I have mixed feelings about.
In 1561, nineteen-year-old Mary (Saoirse Ronan), Catholic Queen of Scotland, returns to her home country from France following the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to take up her throne. She is received by her half brother, the Earl of Moray (James McArdle). In neighboring England, her cousin, twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) is the Protestant Queen of England. She is unmarried, childless, and threatened by Mary’s potential claim to her throne. Mary soon clashes with the cleric John Knox (David Tennant) and dismisses him from her court. Knox is a protestant and leader of the Scottish Reformation and perceives Mary to be a danger to the kingdom’s Protestant supremacy.
Here we have two queens, which are also cousins, that are jealous of each other. One wants to be married with children so there’s an heir to the throne and the other never wants to be married or have children but is in love with her counselor, Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn). Elizabeth is all about the business of running the country while Mary tries to have both, a family and run a country. The two queens play a game of chicken with each other in hopes one will yield. Mary admits she married the wrong man the first time around and has now repeated history with a new husband, Henry Stuart: Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) who is atrocious [according to this film) in every way. Upon Darnley marrying Mary, she discovers him in bed with her friend and private secretary, David Rizzio (Ismael Cruz Córdova) the following morning. Faced with insurgency and infidelity, Mary decides to quash the rebel forces but spares both Rizzio and Moray. She demands Darnley give her a child. When a child is conceived, Mary declares that the child is the “heir to Scotland and England” — which deeply offends the English.
Of course there is so much more to this intriguing story but I must stop here, as not to give it away. What becomes of Mary, her husbands and her ploy to reign over England, Scotland and Ireland. I found Mary Queen of Scots extremely interesting and well acted. There is so much to take in — everything from adultery to beheadings. History dictates a slightly different version and the critics have picked up on the changes thus giving the film a scolding and deflated ratings. If you like period pieces, Check It Out!
[Queen of Scots is Oscar Nominated for Best Costume Design and Best makeup and Hairstyling]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adrian lester, alex beckett, andrew rothney, brendan coyle, david rizzio, david tennant, earl of bothwell, earl of lennox, earl of moray, eileen o'lhiggins, elizabeth hardwick, gemma chan, guy pearce, ian hart, ismael cruz Córdova, izuka hoyle, jack lowden, james mcardle, joe alwyn, john knox, king james I, liah o'prey, lord darnley, lord maitland, lord thomas randolph, maria-victoria dragus, martin compston, mary, mary beaton, mary fleming, mary livingston, mary queen of scots, mary seton, matthew stewart, queen elizabeth I margot robbie, robert beale, robert dudley, saoirse ronan, simon russell beale, walter mildmay, william cecil
Operation Finale is a historical drama, directed by Chris Weitz and screenplay by Matthew Orton. The film stars Oscar Isaac (who also produced). I was anxious to see Operation Finale because I like learning about all that happened during the Holocaust. Most of these type films are brilliantly produced. Israeli spies from the Mossad work to track down and capture Adolf Eichmann.
** SPOILERS **
Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) an Israeli spy, was part of a team (Mossad) whose mission was to bring in a Nazi spy. The team abducted and shot the wrong man, who died outside his home, leaving his wife widowed and his children fatherless. Fast forward to 1960, Argentina — while at the movies, which featured “Imitation of Life“, a young girl named Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) encounters a young boy named Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn) who was with friends seated in the back row of the theater. Klaus and his friends were making a bit of a ruckus, laughing loudly at the part of the movie when the daughter, passing for white, was discovered to be Black by her boyfriend. Sylvia shushed them but only Klaus reacted by shushing her back. She repeated her action by shushing them again, only this time with a smile on her face. Klaus responded the same, also with a smile on his face. Later they met and started dating. Sylvia lived with her blind father, Lothar Hermann (Peter Strauss), who encouraged Sylvia to invite Klaus to dinner. During that dinner, Lothar questioned Klaus intently. When asked about his background, Klaus said that his father had died and his uncle took him in and raised him as if he were his very own son. He told of a grateful young man who had no place else to live. Soon after, word gets to Peter that they may have access to Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) who was one of Hitler’s masterminds and executioners of the Holocaust. Peter would have to convince his superior, Isser Harel (Lior Raz) who became the Director of Mossad, that this may very well be a legitimate find. Isser informed Peter, after what happened with the last mission, he couldn’t afford to screw up another one on a blind man’s suspicions. Eventually, Peter received word that the operation was a go. The team went into action, taking pictures of Klaus’ home and encouraging Sylvia to get involved. While dating, Klaus takes Sylvia to a meeting at the home of a prominent Nazi. They started off with Champaign and individual conversations where Sylvia met Carlos Füldner (Pêpê Rapozale) who questioned her name and background. Fortunately, the meeting started, saving Sylvia by the bell. When the meeting turned radical and aggressive, Sylvia abruptly left, which ended any chance of dating Klaus in the future. Sylvia was instructed by the Mossad team to bring a present to Klaus as a peace offering in order to get Adolf out in the open. When Sylvia entered the house, she was greeted with kindness and respect as she presented the present and said she and Klaus had had a misunderstanding and this was her way of apologizing. Klaus was not there but when he showed up, he was nasty and wanted nothing to do with Sylvia. She eased out the door and hurriedly walked toward the spot where she was dropped off, only to find the car gone, so she kept walking to the bus station. Klaus decided to go after her and find out why she left the meeting. When asked Sylvia said she wasn’t feeling well, but Klaus knew that wasn’t true. He tried to determine what would really make her leave and came up with, she might be a Jew. She confirmed his suspicions and asked did that really matter. Klaus became angry and didn’t answer her, indicating he wanted no part of a relationship with Sylvia. Once the team had gathered enough evidence, the investigation was in full swing complete with a plan to snatch Adolf and hold him in a safe house until the team could expedite him to Israel.
Operation Finale is an intense Holocaust story of bravery and determination. The team (Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent), Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac), Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll), Moshe Tabor (Greg Hill) and Zvi Aharoni (Michael Aronov ) who were still standing up against a Nazi regime had many problems protecting themselves as well as executing their mission. Since this is a true story, many may know of the details and end result. If you do not know, this movie is very enlightening. The story was well told and brilliantly acted. The film was released in the United States on August 29, 2018, and received mixed reviews from critics. If movies about the holocaust appeal to you, then this is a good one to check out.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adolf Eichmann, allan corduner, annie Werner, ben kingsley, carlos füldner, dani sharlon, david ben-gurion, ephraim ilanij, gideon hausner, greg hill, greta scacchi, haley lu richardson, hanna, isser harel, joe alwyn, klaus Eichmann, lior raz, lotar Hermann, mélanie laurent, michael aronov, mike hernandez, moshe tabor, nick kroll, ohad knoller, oscar isaac, pêpê rapazote, peter malkin, peter strauss, rafi eitan, simon russell beale, sylvia herman, tatiana rodriguez, torben liebrecht, vera Eichmann, yaakov gat, zvi aharoni