Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:36 am 
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PETERLOO (Mike Leigh 2018)

A passion project, but it gives off no passion. The most expensive film Mike Leigh has ever made, and about perhaps the most important event in British labor and democratic rights history, the Peterloo Massacre, the Manchester mass rally of 60-80,000 people in August 1819 when 15 were killed and 600 wounded by armed forces. Too many speeches, too many characters; it reminded me of a historical pageant I saw in Virginia at the age of nine about the Virginia Colony called "The Common Glory." All sides are represented (and there are a lot of sides) but the Tories and the royalists are caricatures, especially the clownish Prince Regent. Rory Kinnear shines and alone is a complex character as Henry Hunt, the radical chief speaker of the rally. Lovely painterly images by Dick Pope, who made the wonderful MR. TURNER'S look so great. Nice folk songs. A lot to be learned here, if you're teaching or attending a high school class For one thing, there was only a crackdown on reform right after; a positive result was the founding of the Manchester Guardian newspaper. If you're just an adult film fan, though, Peterloo winds up being a bit of a snooze. The memory of MR. TURNER haunted me as I watched this. Leigh stretched himself very successfully there, not so much here. Watched 13 April at Albany Twin, which has the best buttered popcorn in the East Bay - there's always that. Runtime 2 1/2 hours, Metascore 68.

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