England, 1554. Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Queen Mary, a zealous Catholic, dies and young Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, becomes queen. She has to give up the joys of freedom for the power and unity of England, whose independence is threatened by Spain, France and the Pope. Elizabeth decides to take the most desperate and unexpected measures, which make her the greatest queen and the most talented woman in England’s history.
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“Black” was before: the reign of Mary the Bloody, an alliance with violent, manic-religious Spain, the Inquisition and a country in terror. “White” was after: the golden age of Elizabeth, the patronage of piracy, Francis Drake and the defeat of the Invincible Armada. And in between was the “gray”, troubled times, the beginning of the reign of the Virgin Queen, a time of ruthless power struggles, conspiracies, intrigue and betrayals.
The young “heretic queen”, who miraculously inherited the throne, inherited a country weak, deprived of a navy and an army, torn by internal strife, religious feuds and vulnerable to external enemies. Deprived of friends and support, forced to toss between the patronage of Spain and France, rejected by Rome, Elizabeth plunges into politics, makes mistakes, achieves her first successes, and eventually becomes the queen that history remembers her as.
The movie is wonderful. I remember rooting for it back in the olden days when it was battling “Shakespeare in Love” at the Oscars. “Shakespeare” won, but I never changed my opinion: “Elizabeth” should have been the best movie of the year because the story is told in a cool way.
In historical films, there is often a tilt towards romance, a love-story set against the backdrop of a historical era, while very few films tell a story about history itself. “Elizabeth” is just one of the latter. Romantic line there is engaged in a negligibly small piece of the total pie, the emphasis is on the reign of the queen, her attempts to find a way out of the critical situation in which the country arrived, the formation of personality, the rebirth of an inexperienced girl in the iron lady.
Some people will find it unattractive: the film lacks the glitz and gloss of adventure pictures, there are no gorgeous battle scenes, most of the episodes are dialog, and there are no particularly bright moments. Unless you’re a history buff and you’re fascinated by the events and personalities of those years: Norfolk, Walsingham, Maria de Guise, the Church’s passing of the law of one faith, the Avignon-like Captivity of the Popes under Philip IV of France, etc.
The movie is certainly artistic, and at the same time the concentration of facts and details makes it more of a documentary than most Hollywood blockbusters, where historical accuracy is treated more than negligently. And that’s why “Elizabeth” does not shine like a seven-carat diamond, but unobtrusively, even dimly shines against the background of “Gladiator”, “Braveheart” and so on.
The movie is less spectacular, but no less valuable. Based not on the effect, i.e. special effects, but on the painstaking recreation of the era, showing the complex relationships between all participants in the drama, and, at the same time, not boring, tense.
A very intelligent, not superficial movie with wonderful actors. Cate Blanchett is a fine actress who has insultingly few good pictures behind her. She is an actress, not a diva taking the baton from Meryl Streep and a stranger to purely commercial projects.
Geoffrey Rush, still serious, not off the rails of “Shine”, and not plunged into the foolishness of “Pirates” and “Pera Marquis de Sade”. In “Elizabeth” he plays, great play, and not shouting and sinning poser. His Walsingham – one of the central figures of the picture, a kind of “gray cardinal”, a secret, unexpected weapon in the hands of Elizabeth.
Unexpectedly, the picture revealed a new Bond Daniel Craig in the face of a secret envoy from Rome. Prosaic, burdock appearance, potato nose and stupid haircut. Once you see him, you’ll never remember him, and then you won’t recognize him, except now that he’s Bond. The same goes for Miranda Otto, who didn’t know her Star Trek yet.
Bottom line: I love historical movies. More specifically, good historical movies that are moderately entertaining, watchable, and not stupid. I love Geoffrey Rush. I didn’t find the movie heavy-handed, but I suspect many people will because of the features mentioned above. But, nevertheless, I recommend it.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (48.0 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, Chinese (Cantonese), Mandarin (Traditional), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.