The brilliant young French actress Camille Rutherford (Low Life) stars as the doomed monarch in this sumptuous historical drama by Swiss director Thomas Imbach.
MARY Queen of Scots
Mention the name Mary, Queen of Scots and surely that of her cousin, the formidable Elizabeth I, springs to mind. This is inevitable, as the two monarchs were inextricably linked — for better or for worse. But while Mary ultimately lost out to Elizabeth, as this arresting and novel look at her life illustrates, she remains a fascinating woman with a worthy story of her own.
MARY Queen of Scots rises well above its roots as a historical drama, for it is an extremely well-directed and imaginatively conceived piece of filmmaking. Directed by Swiss filmmaker Thomas Imbach, who employs the brilliant young French actor Camille Rutherford in the title role, it uses both English and French throughout. But this should not come as a surprise: much of Mary's early life was spent in France, and she was married off to the heir to the French throne at the age of sixteen.
In a series of finely written voice-over monologues, Mary writes to her English cousin Elizabeth. This device moves the narrative forward, allowing Imbach to touch on key moments in Mary's life. Joining these moments together are wonderfully evocative visual and musical interludes, marrying landscapes and music to create an unsettled mood. Not that the film is experimental; a cinematic rigour has been applied to its subject. Indeed, most of the salient facts of Mary's life are dealt with — her marriage to the dauphin, her return to Scotland upon his premature death, the struggles between Catholics and Protestants, her marriage to Lord Darnley and her relationship with the Earl of Bothwell.
But, what consistently impresses is
the absolute "rightness" of everything in
this film. It is amongst the most thrilling
treatments of a historical subject I have