• R, 1 hr. 31 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Derek Jarman
    In Theaters:
    Mar 20, 1992 Limited
    On DVD:
    Jun 14, 2005


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Edward II Reviews

Page 2 of 3
December 13, 2013
A stunning, visually innovative adaptation of the Marlowe play, now looking slightly dated in its early '90s post-modern pastiche of styles and stark sets. While the film is a rousing indictment of the Thatcher government's anti-gay agenda, it is also a fairly neat disembowelment of Marlowe's play. Conveniently missing are Edward's murder of Mortimer, his exiling of his Queen to France, and her return and alliance with the younger Mortimer clearly framed as a political expedience. In the film gay love triumphs - as we might wish it would - but in the play Edward is somewhat more complex, his relationship with Piers Gaveston a touch more psychopathic, and his handling of politics clearly quite inept and egomaniacal. By replacing feudal warlords with Thatcherite barons and baronesses, Jarman makes his point - but misses the one about kings needing the support of those they rule, and what happens when they run roughshod over their power base. Queen Isabella, very sympathetic and mistreated in the play, is turned into a callous manipulator in the film. A striking film, utterly original, and while championing the gay ethos that Jarman has wrested from Marlowe's tragedy, the celluloid version conveniently excises whatever is inconvenient or contradictory to the director's message. And this, in a creative way, is just another version of showing the often manipulative and highly selective vision of the film director - not just Jarman in this film, but many, many others also. Plato vindicated.
December 25, 2012
this is interesting and entirely innovative.. an amalgamation of an Elizabethan with an unusually postmodern setting
August 20, 2012
Social ostracism motivated by homophobia
Homophobic violence, ultimately resulting in murder
Police violence

The lighting is horrifying. What is this, a fucking stage play. What's with the random cross-century timeline contamination. This movie is ruined by seriously questionable art direction. Apparently it's supposed to be using the regicide of Edward II to draw a parallel between the fervent homophobia of the 1500s to the anti-human rights policies imposed by the Thatcher administration, which served to oppress gays and lesbians' civil rights and right to life. The administration supported violence against gays, and deemed their behaviour acceptable because they were authority figures. This movie makes the point that authority that isn't homophobic is violently expelled, and that the homophobic attitude is the real authority, and maintains its position through extreme violence. It's more of a political piece than anything.
June 20, 2012
So I learned something today. Don't buy a DVD from Amazon without reading the reviews. I read Marlowe's Edward II some time ago, and I remember that I like Marlowe and his plays. So I was browsing Amazon for Renaissance plays made into films, and imagine my pleasure when I saw one that wasn't a Shakespeare play. And then imagine my surprise after watching this movie's first five minutes. This is not the film I expected. The images are sometimes memorable and sometimes the backdrops are boring and oppressive, and maybe Jarman wanted the sets to be oppressive to match the homosexual themes in the England of 1991. He definitely has a strong LGBT message in his adaptation here, but a lot was cut from the original play. The adaptation was a mess, some scenes were confusing and gratuitous to the story. Is it bad when you watch an adaptation of a play you have read and are still fairly confused? Maybe Jarman is not for everyone, and I feel this adaptation is one of the worst I have seen for a Renaissance play.
January 21, 2012
Suffers from the unfortunate '90s tendency to choose "arty" over art, but it holds up fairly well still, in part thanks to Tilda Swinton's amazing turn as Isabella.
August 19, 2008
I don't think I've seen a Derek Jarman movie before this, though I've always meant to. I regret to say I....well....didn't get it.

It's so stylized and abstract that appeals to very, very limited audiences. The direction is spot-on, but it's too specific for its own good. The ethereal and lyrical presentation of the story (which I'm otherwise very interested in - I've been meaning to find out more about Edward II), doesn't allow you to get engaged or understand much of it. I saw the oppression and I saw the homophobia, but I still remain dumbfounded by the overall achievement.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

September 15, 2009
I hate that when there are no critics reviews listed, that Flixster just gives it a critical rating of 100%. How annoying! Basically, this movie is a mess that is probably better on stage but a mess moviewise.
June 24, 2009
Excessively self-indulgent, but beautiful. Tilda Swinton is excellent. Annie Lennox and the Act-Up protest totally came out of nowhere, but then again that's just Derek Jarman's style.
February 18, 2008
what a great movie!!! such stark contrasts on the visuals!!! such anachronism!!!
May 16, 2007
watched alittle of this but i thnk i wasn't interested enough to continue? im not sure.. whatever it is.. if i come across it again.. ill try again.
May 10, 2007
I don't get it, and frankly, that's why I like it so damn much. Wanna give it a shot?
March 25, 2007
Extremely well done.
March 6, 2007
[font=Franklin Gothic Medium][size=3]Crazy weekend, only saw one film I didn't already see (I saw Children of Men and The Departed again with a friend), but it was a good one so let's begin, and I promise next week will be better. Oh and by the way, I'm not a terrible typist, I just type fast and don't proof read, so there's bound to be plenty of typos, so sorry, but proofreading is boring.

Edward II is the same story of the play however this one is directed by Derek Jarman. If you don't know who he is, he is famous for making films like Jubilee in which Queen Elizibeth the 1st is transported to post-apocolyptic England where punk-rock all girl gangs and record producers rule the world and Caravaggio in which he takes the famous 16th century painter and his gay lover on motorcycles. He is also famous for sadly dying of AIDS in the 1990's. This was one fo his last films. And this one is no less anachronistic than those. The whole film takes place in a castle I'm assuming (although it looks more like a silo) which gives it the play feeling still. And the story if you don't know it is Edward 2 is the new King of England, and he invites his friend to become a leader in his castle only for the other leaders to banish his friend, and arrest the king. What's so werid? Well besides one of the main characters talking to a friend while behind them to men are going at it and various wardrobe inconsistances (goes from 19th century shirt to an 80's suit), the begining does not have much weridness. However as it progresses it gets more and more werid (or metaphorical, but I'll get to that later). I let you have fun with these however, but there are a few that our important. One scene where the king seeks to attack these critics with force instead of what you think they would do, he starts a strike with gay rights activists, and the riot police come to make them disperse. The main critic of the king at times reminds you of hitler, but more like a die hard christian rebublican. The queen who cheats on the king who loves his friend more than her with this main critic reminds us of the christian rebublican mothers who think copies of GTA should be burned and banned. Now at first you think these things are just werid, but later I realized, Derek Jarman was a pissed off man. Being a gay man with AIDS in the 80's-90's he had a lot of issues with the world. But what I find amazing is that instead of making a film straight out of his head that hurdled these problems at your face, he instead used a famous story, and made it into something that made him feel accomplished. It both showcases our society (as a whole not just certain catogoreys), the battle with gay rights, and it's also a big fuck you. He made you think about these things however, and not just hurdle issues at you. And that's what a true artist does. It's an amzing film that makes you think. Oh ya it was well made too, it looks good. I encourage anyone to see it. Except young children, there's a couple horrifying metaphors in there, like when the king has a dream of having a metal rod thats burning hot shoved up... well ya, i thought of the rod as AIDS. Anyways see it.[/size][/font]
March 3, 2007
This is a very strange movie (mostly for art direction reasons). Anyway, it did make me want to learn more about Edward II. I don't know if I can reccomend this, but Tilda Swinton looks beautiful in every one of her scenes. Umm...Yeah...
February 3, 2007
Sortof odd and quirky, have to watch a couple of times
November 7, 2006
Did Jarman direct this?
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