1 November 2007
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (12A)
Dir Shekhar Kapur
The well deserving Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett returns to her star-making role as Elizabeth I in this, the second part of her biographical feature.
Reunited with some of her collaborators from the worldwide hit Elizabeth, Geoffrey Rush is again seen as Elizabeth's great adviser Walsingham. The Oscar winner is once more seen perfectly playing the powerful man who mastermined one of the greatest espionage networks throughout Europe in the 1500s. He was also in the powerful position of playing a Max Clifford figure as a master of PR, protecting and promoting his client all along.
He was the one who created her powerful status, as a single Queen, which she used wisely as a political tool, as a ruler and a divine figure, (after all her mother was the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, beheaded by her father Henry the 8th!).
The Virgin Queen was not only unmarried and childless, but she still maintained her status as mother to her people.
Shekhar Kapur once more ensures he doesn't disappoint as a bold and visceral director of epic proportions. Clive Owens (Children of Men) features as the suave, good looking seafarer and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, in whom the Virgin Queen finds new found tempation. As quickly as they are seen in the court flirting, Raleigh is caught having an affair with Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting, Bess, played by the Australian up and coming actress (and new Naomi Watts), Abbie Cornish.
The three way relationship is aptly and discreetly acted out. Elizabeth is seen being both extremely jealous at Bess's relationship and at the same time encouraging her to befriend him in order to keep Raleigh near, as she is unable and unwilling to pursue her passion. Her tempetuous relationship with her cousin Queen Mary of Scots is also explored here, although not as thorough as I would have liked. She is portrayed as a prisoner in the film, which she was for nineteen years, and a bitter and twisted self righteous Catholic, whom many believed was the rightful queen.
Highlighting her more mature years, Elizabeth: The Golden Years is intriguing enough to watch even after the remarkable spectacle of the first film, mainly because of her exciting power in such a male dominated world.
This is a fascinating historical tale, a real must see in the cinema. As magnificent as before, Blanchett plays the part extraordinarilly well.
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