Cate Blanchett (Oscar & Lucinda) has her true star-making turn in Shekhar Kapur’s poignant and compelling Elizabeth, the stirringly good saga of the Queen’s controversial rise to power in the 16th century.

It is the story of the Protestant ruler and her scheming, double-crossing servants and advisors, and surprisingly it is more than watchable. It bears more similarity to The Godfather than Masterpiece Theater. Blanchett’s performance is magnificent, her Elizabeth is strong, but also projects a vulnerablility that lets the audience realize that she is not very hard to fool and double-cross.

The supporting cast is also superb, featuring the kindly Richard Attenborough as Sir Walter, the queen’s most rusted friend and advisor; the eye-narrowing Chris Eccleston as the most powerful man in England and the engimatic Joseph Fiennes as Elizabeth’s lover. The only weak link in the supporting cast is, surprisingly, Geoffrey Rush. He is just plain weird (not to mention jaw-droppingly boring) as Sir Francis Walsingham, a really instrumental character to the movie.

The cinematography is, on occasion, pure eye-candy: featuring great sweeping shots, gorgeous scenery and eye-popping costumes. All this makes Elizabeth a highly enjoyable affair, not to mention sad, powerful. This is the kind of film that stays with you days after you watch it, a triumph of acting, writing, direction and camerawork.

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log


Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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