Jubilee - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jubilee Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 30, 2013
This must be my week of crap movies, I'm going to be honest right from the start: I've only seen two films from the late Derek Jarman, this and The Last of England (1987). And I must say that neither of them made much of an impression on me. Jubilee tells the disjointed story of Queen Elizabeth I, who bored by her own existence has her court astrologer and an angel invent a time travel devise that will allow her to travel forward to twentieth century Britain. Once again Jarman revels in pointing out the failings in modern British culture, from the violent punk scene that the main characters are part of, to the harsh severity of the music industry and corporate big business. This has no precedence over the plot, because Jubilee has no plot, just a rambling incoherent mish-mash of filth and vulgarity, which Jarman seems to think will help drive his message of a Britain on the brink of self-destruction home. Jubilee is a film that so obviously wanted to be hip it hurts, looking back it seems Jarman took everything that was just about to explode into the public conscious and structured a highly self-indulgent story around it. So we are shown one of the most miss-representative looks at punk one could ever imagine, and a cast that reads like the who's-who of seventies underground celebrities (Richard O Brien rubs shoulders with the likes of a chubby Toyah Wilcox and a pre-fame Adam Ant). Jarman was clearly pandering to his overly inflated ego, after his gay swords and sandals "epic" Sebastiane (1976) was hailed a modern classic. Jubilee is yet another product of art-house cinema gone wrong and film-making in it's most brash and unsubtle form. 1 Star 9-29-13
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2009
weird weird weird British stage show and street trash exhibition. I'm a Toyah fan so had to see this movie.
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2007
Great set-up, not so great outcome. Definitely worth watching once if you're even slightly interested in weird films or punk rock, but perhaps not a second time (though I suppose you'd really need a second watch to fully understand this film).
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2006
This is a pretty odd film. Not one i would watch again
Super Reviewer
December 15, 2011
Interesting if flawed, "Jubilee" is director Derek Jarman's arty look at UK punks and urban decay. His detached stance seems somewhat ambivalent -- does he regard these flamboyant brats as an antidote to modern society or a mere symptom of it?

With its day-glo characters and derelict locations, the film isn't out to create a realistic, metropolitan environment -- often, the actors just recite history or philosophy for the camera and serve as conduits for Jarman's thoughts. What passes for "plot" is strictly secondary, as various play-like vignettes are spliced together in collage. The motley cast includes the adolescent Toyah Willcox (relentlessly obnoxious and barely recognizable), the pre-fame Adam Ant, Little Nell (yes, from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"), Ian Charleson (half the film passed before I realized he starred in "Chariots of Fire" just a few years later) and Jenny Runacre (the group's aloof, glamorous matriarch). Willcox, Wayne County, Adam & the Ants (minus their later New Romantic frills) and Siouxsie & the Banshees are among the onscreen musical contributors, while Brian Eno adds ambient score. The Slits also make a quick cameo. Yet the centerpiece tune comes from a novice: the one-named Jordan (known here as "Amyl Nitrate"), who struts through sort of an operatic, reggae version of "Rule Brittania."

The abusive Willcox has the juiciest part, but the most coherent plot thread is the stardom quest of a handsome ingenue (Ant) and his subsequent exploitation by a leering media impresario (the ridiculously overacting "Orlando"). Elsewhere, the sociopathic Nell, Willcox and Runacre collaborate on a few thrill killings, while the depraved proceedings are coolly observed by a time-traveling Queen Elizabeth I (Runacre again), her court astrologer (Richard O'Brien, also from "Rocky Horror") and the spooky, dark-eyed angel they have summoned as a guide. This trio functions as a narrative frame and one suspects that, given a choice, Jarman would rather live in their past era of magic and elegant costumes.

Many British youths disliked "Jubilee" (punk-fashion icon Vivienne Westwood even ran off a notorious T-shirt decorated with a letter of protest) and it's easy to see why true rockers would prefer a grittier, grubbier work like, say, "Rude Boy." But "Jubilee" remains an intriguing curio that underground-music fans shouldn't miss.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Jubilee" starts with Queen Elizabeth I(Jenny Runacre) and her chief astrologer, John Dee(Richard O'Brien), being visited by an angel(Ian Charleson) who offers them a glimpse of a possible future where law and order has broken down, causing not only the end of history(Amyl Nitrite(Jordan) tries to rectify this by writing her own version of events.) but also that of art. Absolute freedom is the rule of the day which is good for personal relations but bad because violence is just as prevalent as sex. No matter what, music goes on, as The Kid(Adam Ant) goes to London to make it big.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Written and directed by Derek Jarman, "Jubilee" is an oddly beguiling and erotic movie that is purposefully ambivalent about the future, especially the effects of an increasingly irrelevant monarchy. Can it be that a future imagined cannot be any worse than the real one of 1978 with AIDS and Margaret Thatcher?[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2013
Its more graduate school thesis than an actual film. Is it original? Yes, but its still mostly just a collection of images and ideas without much of a through-line.
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2008
This film is very "punk" and definitely a product of the time (1977) it was made.
Great music in it, and a score by Brian Eno.
On the surface it seems like a bunch of rag-tag individuals fucking about, but there's alot of comment and satire in it. Even toward the sub-culture it's glorifying.
Where else will you see a gritty future, inhabited with punks, the clergy owning everything and all this being discovered by Queen Elizabeth 1.
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2008
Anyone interested in British punk should watch this. Jubilee features some of the leader figures of British Punk including Adam Ant, Jordan, Little Nell, Toyah Wilcox, Wayne County, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Slits. Bizarre, violent and weird Jubilee takes Queen Elizabeth 1st and transports her to 1978 Britain where we meet all the strange characters of the scene. Defiantly not one for everyone, you'll ethier love it or hate it, but if you are interested in Punk or obscure art movies then you have to see this.
January 17, 2014
flawed but still worth a look at late '70's UK besides any pic that can reference Shakespeare and Siouxsie and the Banshees can't be bad right?
October 7, 2013
Odd little film.

Intriguing without being compelling, Jubilee showcases derelict England and punk culture. It's best viewed as a sequence of vignettes, linked by recurring characters. Attempting to find a typical plot arc will yield disappointment.

It's a film that holds the viewer at arm's length, yet still manages to reveal a variety of interesting characters. The scenarios aren't too interesting by themselves, but become relatively engaging by the way characters interact.

It's still a film you have to work to like, but some excellent musical showcases do a good job of helping to smooth the ride.
½ January 16, 2011
You had me at "Queen Elizabeth and John Dee time travel with an archangel to a futurist dystopia overrun by cockney punk rock kids." Only...when I finally watched it it was pointless, meandering, and hollow. Albeit beautiful to look at. I'd love a still of that burning baby carriage shot against a decaying urban landscape.
August 1, 2008
It's absurd, violent, stupid, awfully acted, and completely irresistible. In 1977, punk rock was starting a revolution (thus ending its revolution, due to its own self-deprecating manifesto) -- and this movie is just that -- self-defeating. Punk rock film cameos? Please! This is one of those obscure, terrible movies that I love, along with Ricky-Oh and Gummo. It's awful, but how do you rate a movie that has you glued to it, just for the eye-rolls it induces?
½ June 30, 2008
Queen Elizabeth asks her court alchemist to show her a vision of England in the future, and the alchemist summons a angle/spirit guide(played by Adam Ant) who transports her to London 400 years into the future where it is a post apacalyptic wasteland. The story then follows a group of nihilistic girl punks who all get lengthy monologues(as does almost every character) on British history, art, sex, love, the music industry, anarchy, God, the end of western civilization etc, and their dealings with a mass media mogul who virtually controls the city, sadistic fascist police, and each other. All of the dialogue between the Queen, her alchemist, and the spirit is all in poetic verse, while all of the future talking is mostly cockney sloganeering which was so pretentious in the first couple of scenes I almost turned it off. However it really picked up after about the first fifteen minutes and you barely notice it. It's not really a film about punk so much as it is a film about the breakdown of civilization, which uses the punk scene as vehicle for the metaphor. It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be, I definitely recommend it for those of you interested in this sort of thing. Recording legend Brian Eno also does the score, and if that doesn't sweeten to pot for your to watch this, nothing will. Jarman has had many successes since, but none this vital, at least not for me.
½ June 12, 2008
I have to admit that my four and a half stars are kinda forced. I like the idea of this movie much more than I actually like this movie. Some of the acting is actually very atrocious. The musical performance are really good and where else will you find The Slits as a street gang. I include this in my favorites because the soundtrack is awesome and it grows on me more and more with repeat viewings.
June 6, 2008
overall this was good but there were aspects of it i couldnt stand, like whenever i saw Mad... ew. but Amyl, oh deary, total babe lol. i love her. interesting movie, not the only kind of punk keep in mind. SLC Punk is an equivalent. with the exception of having a freakin plot.
January 3, 2007
The greatest Punk Rock movie ever! Mixes art, music, politics, social commentary, and philosophy with a chaotic story to create a cinematic masterpiece!
June 3, 2014
One of the most accessible of Jarman's films; surreal and audacious, with Jordan's "Rule Britannia" a highlight.
January 28, 2013
A brutal and staggering portrait of an alternative 1970s Britain where anarchy reigns and society has all but broken down. A mad tale more than worthy because of the inclusion of punk icons Jordan, Adam Ant, Wayne County etc.
November 9, 2012
A true work of art. This strange experimental film is more like a painting than a film. Think Alejandro Jodorowsky gone post-punk. Experimental post-modern philosophical mind-fuck madness, 1970's British post-punk fashion, staged in post-apocalyptic hallucinatory settings. This film will forever influence my thinking as an experimental artist, as Derek Jarman has pushed boundaries into an abyss of newly found territory. Jarman has also worked with experimental musicians Throbbing Gristle on a super-8 project entitled 'In the Shadow of the Sun', and has been pushing boundaries long before 'experimental' became an entity of its own. One of the greatest filmmakers of the genre.
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