Elizabeth: The Golden Age(2007)
Woman, warrior, Queen.
Reprising her role from 1998's Elizabeth is Cate Blanchett, as Queen Elizabeth I. This historical epic finds the Queen growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th Century Europe. Her rule is challenged by the Spanish army, led by King Philip II (Jordi Molla) - determined to restore England to Catholicism.... More
Preparing for war, Elizabeth tries to balance ancient royal duties with the slimy underbelly of her monarchy: traitors and assassination plots. She also finds in herself an unexpected vulnerability as she falls for seafarer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Unable to pursue the romance, the Queen encourages her lady-in-waiting Bess (Abbie Cornish), to befriend Raleigh and keep him near. But this strategy forces Elizabeth to observe their growing intimacy. Also starring Geoffrey Rush as her trusted advisor, Sir Francis Walsingham.Hide
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BY Andrew Hedley Flicks Writer
As an exercise in style over substance, Elizabeth: The Golden Age impresses. Every frame is filled with either a) a beautiful costume; b) a beautiful person; c) a beautiful castle; or d) a beautiful beam of sunlight slanting down at a beautiful angle. What it lacks, however, is a sense of gravity, or something to give it any kind of dramatic weight beyond a swelling orchestral score or a shouting lady.
It is, of course, one of the most visually exquisite films of the year - at times ridiculously so. Vibrant colours burst from the screen. Pinks, golds, purples, light greens, dark greens, to name but a few. The climactic scenes of the Spanish Armada are mind-blowingly beautiful – orange firelight bounces off the dark grey stormclouds above and the turquoise ocean below. And then a horse jumps overboard and begins to swim through the oily swell, and the audience gasps, and… and…
And we realise that this is all a bit silly, really. Was Queen Elizabeth actually there on the cliffs, rallying her troops on horseback as the Spanish fleet burned before her? Well, no. And she probably didn’t do a lot of things that the filmmakers would lead us to believe. This is an attractive and romantic repackaging of history. Not dry at all, but maybe a little too wet.
Romance fans will be satisfied by the performances of the leads. Clive Owen is all chest-hair and swagger as Sir Walter Raleigh, a piratey scallywag who’s just returned from the New World with potatoes and tobacco (that’s America, not the local supermarket). Cate Blanchett is very strong as the Queen, who has aged since the 1999 film and is now a middle aged career-woman. The central concern of the film seems to be that the Virgin Queen does not need a man or children in order to be fulfilled. She has her career. But in a film so concerned with superficial image, that theme is a little hard to buy.
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