Edward II - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Edward II Reviews

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½ August 17, 2015
Utilizing a relatively straightforward plot to comment on the systemic reaches of homophobia while dropping references to various aspects of gay existence, Jarman elevates what could've been a rote, stuffy period piece through gorgeous visuals and daring staging. Sure, Edward II mostly operates as a progressive rallying cry for gay acceptance, but it's also very much a compelling, historical/contemporary aristocratic drama who's slightly campy tone and attention to detail (the clothing specifically; Swinton's collection of designer outfits is unreal) make it legitimately fun to watch.
May 22, 2015
Derek Jarman's finest hour is also one of the seminal Queer Film Theory films of its era.
August 31, 2014
Bizarre. Not really bad, but also not easy to watch.
½ 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.
½ December 26, 2012
this is interesting and entirely innovative.. an amalgamation of an Elizabethan with an unusually postmodern setting
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.
½ 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.
½ August 27, 2011
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.
½ August 3, 2011
Those of you familiar with Jarmans work will not be surprised by the tone and style of this his adaptation of Christopher Marlowes play. Marlowe was a contempory of Shakespears but Jarman uses anochrinisms in costume and set to bring the play into a modern context specificaly the gay activist movement of the 80s. For me this film offers something exotic whilst at the same time stamped with a British eccentricity, its ugly and beautiful, a work of a genius that a unique voice in cinema. Many will feel diferriently though but that will always result when as a film maker you take risks and push boundries rather than plod the middle path of mediocrity. Derek Jarman we miss you.
½ April 13, 2011
No creo que Jarman sea uno de los directores más difíciles de ver en la historia del cine. Pero si es uno de los más particulares, originales y transgresores que tenga en conocimiento; y es que sus peliculas, a parte de contar una historia, de manera nada convencional, son obras de arte. Esta adaptación del texto de Marlowe es un ejemplo de ello; apropiación postmoderna, actuaciones hieráticas, erotismo, personalizacion del lenguaje visual, contextualización y minimalismo, todo esto surcido con el texto isabelino que prácticamente no esta alterado y que los actores recitan, literalmente, con toda la flema inglesa posible. Lo mejor de todo es Tilda Swinton, a la que Jarman le sacó su mejor partido.
½ April 11, 2011
Interesante. Aunque yo admito que no la entendi muy bien, no le voy a restar su merito, porque lo tiene.
October 14, 2010
Yikes--sometimes the list is just amazingly wrong. Okay, so Edward II forsakes his wife (Tilda Swinton, lonely in her quality acting) for a male lover named Gaveston. This could have worked but for: a) the efficiently one-note performance of Gaveston as an immature narcissist; b) the complete lack of flow between scenes of the movie, making each of them feel completely perfunctory; c) the mistaken perception that willful anachronisms create timeliness or represent innovation; and d) the suggestion that the mere presence of explicit nudity is automatically bold and not simply a childish cry for attention because you couldn't think of a more subtle way to get your points across. It did have an out-of-nowhere singing cameo by Annie Lennox though, so that counts for something, right?
September 30, 2010
The only thing I liked in this movie was Tilda Swinton and the strange concrete maze that they filmed a lot of scenes in.
August 18, 2010
Experimental, bold and adventurous. The best of the late 80s / early 90s queer new wave cinema, back when the movement was political and potent.
August 2, 2010
News to me; but not really a suprise. :)
March 30, 2010
I love the subject matter and Tilda Swinton delivers an outstanding performance, I just hate the way the characters were represented.

If this movie focused more on the love affair between Edward II and Gaveston instead of making the audience despise them, it might have worked. It is an artsy-fartsy mess that draws out far too long. The Shakespearean dialog just kills it!

This is such an amazing story and I can't wait for someone to make it into an equally amazing movie!
½ December 6, 2009
Yes, it's over-wrought. But it's from Derek Jarman. What else would you expect? Visually, this movie sweeps over you like a constant roll of ocean waves. The costumes are a mix of 14th century sort of wear and modern-day dress. About midway through the film, Jarman shows a protest, apparently on behalf of Edward, by gays and lesbians. The point seems to be that he is the victim of an anti-gay conspiracy by the nation's peers. However, the movie portrays Edward and his lover Gaveston as pretty much wastrals, arrogant, insensitive and cruel. Historically, Edward is considered one of the worst monarchs that England had, incompetent and, well, stupid. Tilda Swinton is, as always, an amazement. Annie Lennox sings a Cole Porter song. It's that kind of movie.
½ November 9, 2009
slavnostni zakonceni Mezipater 2009. Film kritiky velmi ceneny, ktery se ukazal, ze urcite neni pro mne:-(
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
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