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28 October 2014
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A Revenger's Tragedy Review:Bren O'Callaghan
A Revenger's Tragedy
Antony Booth (Lord Antonio), and Sophie Dahl (Imogen).

FACT

From February 22nd

Director: Alex Cox

Starring:
Christopher Eccleston, Derek Jacobi, Andrew Schofield, Eddie Izzard

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A Revenger's Tragedy official site
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The launch of FACT; the city’s new multi-million arts cinema complex and centre for digital technologies, begins with the release of The Revenger’s Tragedy - the latest cinematic blast from Liverpool filmmaker Alex Cox.

Filmed entirely on location in the city, Cox joins forces with screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Welcome to Sarajevo, 24 Hour Party People), in updating Thomas Middleton’s 17th Century play text - itself intended as a venemous rebuke of the ruling class.

A Revenger's Tragedy
Christopher Eccleston as Vindici and Eddie Izzard as Lussurioso

Vindici (Eccleston) returns to a Liverpool of the near-future having been absent for ten years following the massacre of his bride and wedding guests at their reception. Her crime? Having refused the lecherous advances of The Duke (Derek Jacobi); ruler of the district and figurehead of a more grasping, vice-riddled and corrupt family unit than you could hope to encounter beyond Trisha’s TV listings.

Aided by sister Castiza (Carla Henry, young Nathan’s pal Donna in Queer As Folk), and brother Carlo (Andrew Schofield), the trio conspire to assassinate their sworn enemy. But as Vindici inveigles himself into the company of The Duke’s sons, themselves implicated in the rape of the virtuous Imogen (a beatific Sophie Dahl) - wife of a rival power broker, success may yet be possible… but at an impossibly high price.

A Revenger's Tragedy
Carla Henry as Castiza, the Knife Thrower

Exploding upon the screen in a camp, blistering, hi-energy freefall, Cox positions himself somewhere between the proto-punk of Derek Jarman’s Jubilee and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet. The Duke’s warring younger sons squabble and scheme as would befit the current cast of Crossroads, while comedian Eddie Izzard (here portraying the malevolent if deeply stupid elder son Lussurioso), gives Eccleston a run for his money as the film’s leading man.

That Cox should choose to limit his audience, sticking to the original archaic rhyme instead of a modernist approach along the lines of Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You and O, seems strange and self-defeating. Almost deliberately obtuse. That said, if you can look beyond some of the more intrusive annoyances (random Brookie cast cameos and the like), there’s plenty of meat to chew on.




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