Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Edward II

Posted on

Edward II

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
performer:
Steven Waddington, Tilda Swinton, Annie Lennox, Andrew Tiernan
director:
Derek Jarman
genre:
Drama, Gay and Lesbian

We gave it an A-

In deconstructing Christopher Marlowe’s grandiloquent, bloody 1594 play, radical gay director Derek Jarman (Caravaggio) mixes the Elizabethan tongue and today’s togs with great flair. Even when Annie Lennox shows up to sing Cole Porter it seems appropriately subversive. The resonance of Edward’s (Steven Waddington) open affair with Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan), which causes the king’s downfall, isn’t lost a bit on Jarman, who uses film as a powerful political broadside. But there’s striking filmmaking, too. And Edward II would be worth watching just to gaze on the almost cruel beauty of Tilda Swinton as the rejected and vengeful Queen Isabella. On video, the film’s ā€” and the language’s ā€” complexity can much more easily be apprehended with the pause and rewind buttons. In creating a modern allegory out of an old and bold tale, Jarman has produced an erotic epic bristling with a new kind of fire and brimstone. A-

Comments