Mary Queen of Scots

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ effectively taps into the historical drama craze of this decade. Featuring love, betrayal and revenge whilst characters wear amazingly tailored attire, it’s easy to see why the genre has thrived. It has elements that captivate audiences and sparking imaginations. Directed by Jose Rourke, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ has an abundance of attention-grabbing scenes amidst the skulduggery of life in the 1500’s.

Recently widowed Queen of France Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. She discovers Scotland and England fall under the rule of her cousin Queen Elizabeth 1 (Margot Robbie). Rivals in all sorts of areas, Mary and Elizabeth are determined to be the dominant ruler in a divided land. Secret battles and double-crosses threaten their power with their futures perilously at stake.

‘Mary Queen of Scots’ is like a ‘greatest hits package’ of history. Set across several years, it flits from one momentous event to another at dizzying speed. Whilst this ensures you’re never bored with what happens, it has the effect of draining any emotional depth. Ronan and Robbie perform well, conveying their character’s forthright strengths with gusto. It’s the way their story is told that prevents you from fully investing in the trials they face. Perhaps it would have worked better as a longer TV series as crucial segments feel absent.

As with any historical drama, one of the main attractions is the costuming. ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ excels in this area with the outfits on display a visual feast. Fantastic cinematography also adds to the film’s grand look with the wide expanses mirroring the huge ambitions of the main characters. The supporting cast skilfully embody their shady roles with David Tennant and Guy Pearce displaying gravitas as personal agitators to the Queen’s lives.

Occasionally bewildering at the speed of its story-telling, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ is still an interesting history lesson. Although it appears some facts were changed to make the narrative more exciting, it mostly delivers in shining a light on two impressive women in history. Royal life never has had any dull moments with the current monarchy much tamer than what transpires in this regal film.

Rating out of 10: 6

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