Edward II
Edward II
R | 20 March 1992 (USA)
Edward II Trailers

England, 14th century. King Edward II falls in love with Piers Gaveston, a young man of humble origins, whom he honors with favors and titles of nobility. The cold and jealous Queen Isabella conspires with the evil Mortimer to get rid of Gaveston, overthrow her husband and take power…

Reviews
AshUnow

This is a small, humorous movie in some ways, but it has a huge heart. What a nice experience.

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Calum Hutton

It's a good bad... and worth a popcorn matinée. While it's easy to lament what could have been...

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Loui Blair

It's a feast for the eyes. But what really makes this dramedy work is the acting.

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Mathilde the Guild

Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.

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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

The film has both little to do with the play and yet is quite close to it. [...]Derek Jarman goes a lot farther since he erases the political dimension of the last scene in which Edward III has Mortimer executed in the most violent but "legal" way for the killing of his father and his mother imprisoned pending her trial as an accomplice to this murder. The young king in the film dances to some music from his MP3 reader on the cage containing Mortimer and his mother covered in waste. Edward III is wearing his mother's earrings, a fact that was also used in the previous scene when his own mother bit his uncle, Edward II's brother, at the jugular and drinks his blood like a vampire till death ensues. These earrings are the sign of the dependence of the child on the mother and become at the end, with the mother in the cage, a symbol of the continuation of the curse in this family that does not seem to clearly differentiate male from female and that is not only a question of sexual orientation. In a way that erases the feudal crime of Mortimer who seizes power or at least tries to by having himself appointed protector of the realm till the new king is of age to reign, though the protector should have been the uncle.[...]Jarman creates a very dark and menacing atmosphere by having many scenes in the underground foundations of some airless and lightless dungeons in a castle, and some of these scenes show the King imprisoned in such underground dump in which all wasted water, grey and black alike, are rejected in a pool that covers the whole ground and in which the king is supposed to live while he is prevented from sleeping by constant drumming day and night. These prison scenes interspersed in the whole film make the plot very awkward since there is no plot any more with these flash-forwards that tell the end before it ever could be envisaged. And this dark subterranean world is invaded and dominated by all kinds of military personnel in modern attire and equipment. We deal here with one characteristic of Derek Jarman's cinematographic art: the art of anachronistic references. From the very start we have cigarettes, then Big Ben's chimes, then those modern uniforms, then modern weapons, then the prince is playing with robots. There is no end to such anachronistic elements or props The intended meaning is that nothing has ever changed. [...]In fact the political dimension, including gay rights, is totally erased or veiled or hidden by the dark, tortuous, perverted world we are given to see: the people at all levels and all of them are perverted, including the King who forgets who he is and his responsibilities towards the peers, his family, his wife, his son, the church, etc. He is a perverse feudal ruler. Including Gaveston who forgets who and what he is. He is from France, from the lower levels of feudal society trying to dominate and get some revenge from the top layers of the English feudal society, and thus he becomes a perverted social climber. Spencer, in a way, is more respectable because he does not want anything from the King. He is at the King's service and provides the King with the care he needs. Including all the peers, church people and nobles alike, who are all perverted because they want to defend their privileges, their power, their social position without taking into account anyone else: they only speak of themselves and never of the people without whom they would be nothing. They are perverted feudal barons who have forgotten they are the protectors and the providers of their serfs and villains. Including of course the church who rants and raves about some kind of fictitious power of God or the church itself. Gaveston on that point is right when he rejects the See of Rome and calls it the See of Hell. [...]In other words Jarman is overdoing it.The transformation of the Prince from a discreet and invisible voyeur who can see things without being seen, into a mother's child, wearing her hat, her earrings and even her shoes on the cage at the end is pathetic and deeply unfaithful to Marlowe. This Edward III should be the restoration of order, law and order, authority, the expulsion of the perverted and rotten fruits or eggs from the basket. From the capricious authoritarian love affairs of Edward II we shift here to a childish whimsical tyrannical brothel of sorts in which the perverse sexual desires of Edward III will be totally assumed and satisfied. The realm is falling one full subterranean hell-scraper down with this Edward III. [...] As a song says in the film, Jarman has changed history and Marlowe's play "from major to minor" but here not "every time we say goodbye," rather from the very start and till the very end. The film is in minor tone and as such misses the multi-tonal music of today.Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

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david-sarkies

This movie is based upon a play written by Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe lived in the 16th century (1500's) while the events in the play took place in the 14th Century (1300's), thus there is approximately a 200 year difference between the events the play depicts and its writing. This means that Marlowe could have been making a political comment at the time, but using a king from the past so as not to make it too controversial.The play is about the King of England, Edward Plantagenat II, who ascends the throne after the death of his father Edward I. Edward is a homosexual and within the first couple of scenes, seeks and finds a lover in a peasant named Galveston. Edward uses his kingly powers to raise this peasant to nobility and proclaims him chancellor of the realm, Duke of Cornwell, and King of the Isle of Mann. Edward does this because he loves this man, but he does not understand tradition. He, as a king, has no right to bestow such titles on peasants. This angers the nobility, especially the general.His wife, on the other hand, is frustrated because he find no interest in her. She would rather see him rid of Galveston and return to her, but when Galveston is exiled through pressure from the nobles, she discovers that he is even less interested in her and instead pines for the return of Galveston. Thus throughout the play we discover that his wife, Isabella, becomes ever more alienated from her husband and becomes closer to the general, who becomes Regent of England until her child, Edward III, becomes old enough to take the throne.Marlowe lived in a rather turbulent time in English history, namely during the reformation when England was being pulled between Protestantism and Catholicism. King Henry had broken away from Rome and had set himself up as the head of the church. There were going to be repercussions to this action and I think this is possibly what the play represents. Edward makes a peasant his second in command, and the repercussions was that he alienated himself from his nobles, thrust the country into civil war, and in the end he was executed. In real history, Edward was removed from the throne by an act of parliament and a regent set in place to rule until Edward III was old enough to rule. The turmoil that resulted from the events with Galvaston reflect what might happen with the break from the church, though there is little that I can comfortably say without knowing too much about the dates of the play.The film itself was done in a very abstract style. The clothing was modern day, but the scenes were very abstract. The film closed with Edward III standing on top of a cage in which queen Isabella and the general were frozen. Edward III did finally master Isabella and the regent when he burst into their room and slew them. After that he turned his attention to France.The question in my mind, is the film pro or anti-homosexual. There are a lot of men kissing men in the film, and in my mind the film probably is designed to be pro-homosexual. Obviously considering the topic. The play, I don't think so. I think the play possibly serves a different purpose. I don't think homosexuality was the issue then that it is today. The film confronts us with it and tries to show us that there is nothing wrong with it, yet the play flares out about how unnatural it is. Maybe the director is trying to confront us with the images for shock value for the play does not come out for or against. The king is executed along with Galveston who is also exiled and spat upon during the play.I thought the play was brilliant, but generally literature from that time was of a very high quality. The movie annoyed me with the homosexual images but I was able to look past that to the play itself in which a very powerful and violent story was unfolding.

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Movie-Man-Bob

Ya know that scene in Being John Malkovich, where he goes into his own mind and everyone inside says nothing but "Malkovich Malkovich, Malkovich?" I felt that way watching this movie. Through the whole movie, I heard pretty much nothing but "Gaveston? Gaveston, Gaveston? Gaveston!" It's not that the movie's difficult to understand because of the Elizabethean language. I'm a huge fan of Shakespeare's plays, having read a number of them and seen plenty of film adaptations of them, so I can follow Elizabethean dialogue. But this... well, it ain't Shakespeare. Christopher Marlowe's style doesn't have the poetry or fluidity of Shakespeare. He didn't have Shakespeare's genius. Which makes this movie tough on the ear: boring, in fact.I'm occasionally tempted to watch this movie again, just to see if maybe it DOES have something to redeem itself, perhaps something I missed... and maybe I will, someday. But for now, I'll stick with Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing.

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preppy-3

POSSIBLE Spoilers AHEAD!!! Based on a Christopher Marlowe play, this is about a gay king and how his love for a commoner destroys him. It's a very odd film--there are very few people around (the budget was VERY low for this) and the sets all look very sparse and spare. Also director Derek Jarmans gayness comes roaring through (I'm gay too and I didn't mind!). This is probably one of the few R-rated films to include full frontal male nudity and include a passionate make-out scene between two nude men. Still, I didn't totally like it. The dialogue kept throwing me--I had trouble understanding what was happening. Modernizing it a little more might have helped. And after Edwards' lover is killed, the film slows down and gets very repetitious and boring. Still, it's worth seeing for excellent performances by the entire cast (Swinton especially), interesting costumes (Swinton has a different outfit in every scene!), getting members of the gay British version of Queer Nation (Outrage) in the film and it, visually, looks gorgeous. And the appearance of Annie Lenox is a definite highlight. So, if you can stand the archaic language this is worth watching.

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