One night a couple weeks ago, I couldn't sleep. So I got up and watched a DVD of the follow-up to Cate Blanchett's Oscar-nominated role playing Queen Elizabeth I from nine seasons prior. I had really liked the earlier film, which I had seen in a place around here that serves food before the film. I was interested in the intrigue, and Blanchett was marvelous.
She's still very good in this film, but the intrigue this time was so byzantine or so boring - I'm not sure which - that I didn't much care. Geoffrey Rush's Sir Francis Walsingham is skulking around on who knows what side of the issue.
I did rather enjoy Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh and Abbie Cornish as Beth. In fact, it was when Raleigh first appears that I came out of my stupor.
If I remember correctly, the the number 1585 come up on the screen even before the title of the film. "I'll bet that an event takes place three years hence will be in this movie," I thought, and so it was, but it had a "I've seen it all before" quality.
I'm convinced that if you come into the movie with low expectations - the critics were generally unkind - then you might enjoy it for what it is, but it's definitely a lesser epic. *** I've now managed to see all five Best Actress performances for 2007. Historically, this is not all that unusual, but lately, it's extraordinary. And if I were voting, I would have picked Julie Christie for Away From Her. Marion Cotillard lost points because she was lip-synching, quite well, to Edith Piaf and to Piaf sound-alike Jil Aigrot. My second favorite performance actually was Ellen Page in Juno.