Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a lush, sprawling, historical epic that slowly draws you in with intrigue and beauty, then throws you into the middle of a looming war that threatens to overwhelm Britain.
It takes a look at a period of British history where Spain came close to conquering Britain, and enslaving her people under pseudo religious reasons.
The star of the movie is undoubtable Cate Blanchett who manages to carry her role as Queen Elizabeth. She manages to portray a Queen who is insecure and venerable, whilst at the same time being headstrong and determined in her convictions.
Alongside her is Sir Francis Walsingham, one of her closest advisors, played with similar perfection by Geoffrey Rush. These two on their own could have carried the movie, but the plot demands another, Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh.
Now Clive is the man, I could rattle off a number of movies that I’ve loved him in, and to be fair to the guy, he starts off his role very well. But then he fails to explore the depths of his character, he stays the same mumbling monotonous person through the entire movie, presumably assuming that his charm alone can carry the weight of his role.
But Clive is the only minor blemish to Elizabeth, and really doesn’t take from the overall appeal of the movie. Indeed the movie is a great (if somewhat heavy-handed) insight into the misuse of religious position. By heavy handed I’m referring to the way that the movie always seems to have the Catholic King Philip of Spain dressed in black, or lurking in the shadows, where as Protestant Queen Elizabeth is always in shimmering white, with beams of sunlight making her positively angelic at times.
It’s not hard to spot the enemy: Catholics and Spain are bad; Protestants and the British are good.
But when it comes down to it, Philip is really only using the Catholic Faith as an excuse to go to war, and Elizabeth in her times of distress turns to her astrologer rather than God, though uses her Protestant faith and the fear of Catholicism as a call to arms for her people.
All in all, Elizabeth is a perfectly structured and executed movie, with a slowly building plot that cumulates into an epic sea battle that decides the fate of a nation. The costumes are amazing, and along with the sets and cinematography breath life in to the period, allowing the viewer to be swept up in the story.
Food for thought
You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. Revelation 3:16 MSG
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Violence.
Duration: 114 mins.
Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Samatha Morton, Clive Owen, Abbie Cornish.
Director: Shekhar Kapur.
Release Date: 15-11-2007.