Heavy is the top that wears the coif in Firebrand, which pits Alicia Vikander’s iconoclastic Catherine Parr on the centre of Tudor historical past whilst Jude Legislation’s grotesque Henry VIII does his finest to smother her. It’s a exceptional bodily efficiency from Legislation, who spares us nothing, particularly in grunting bed room scenes by which Previous Coppernose struggles noisily to get his gangrenous leg over. (Charles Laughton sloppily devouring a rooster in The Personal Lifetime of Henry VIII immediately doesn’t appear so unhealthy in any case.)
Vikander’s Parr, against this, is all poise and beauty, and does effectively to cover her disgust in a movie of revolt and revulsion. Her affiliation with the Protestant preacher and reformist Anne Askew (Erin Doherty) is what ignites Firebrand. In the meantime, Henry’s obsession with fathering one other male inheritor — or “a spare”, as he charmingly places it — makes this at occasions resemble a Tudor twist on Succession with the mercurial king growling at his quivering underlings to eff off.
The royal couple are effectively served by supporting gamers, particularly Simon Russell Beale, who’s at his coolly conniving finest as Catholic bishop Stephen Gardiner, oozing sadistic glee on the prospect of inflicting divine punishment on Parr and her ladies-in-waiting. Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz handles the fabric effectively, although a number of the interval particulars are lower than convincing: the wispy purple beard worn by Thomas Seymour (Sam Riley) is one thing out of a seaside joke store whereas this Parr, together with her golden tan, appears to be like as if she’s simply come again from two weeks in Rio.
Everyone knows how the story performs out and but writers Jessica and Henrietta Ashworth enable themselves sufficient liberties to tear up the varsity textbook and provides the 1540s a feminist freshness. It’s definitely a big enchancment on Cannes opener Jeanne Du Barry, one other interval story a couple of shrewd lady making an attempt to remain on the correct facet of a monarch. Johnny Depp’s Louis XV turned out to be a pushover however you wouldn’t need to be on the incorrect facet of Legislation.
Competition continues to Could 27, festival-cannes.com