Married Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots Queen of Scots

The Scottish Lowlands don't seem a particularly liveable place, especially in the 16th century. The sun hardly manages to shed light on the earth, almost as if the omnipresent power struggles had darkened the sky. Even in the mighty castles there is no consolation, bulwarks on the outside, their walls inside resemble rough hewn cave walls. A huge sail is put up for the queen to shield her from it. In “Mary Queen of Scots” you get in the right theatrical mood for what awaits you here. An endless power struggle, heatedly fought out by the queen and the nobles, in which not only the queen herself sometimes loses the overview. The fateful gloom persistently eats its way into the images, so that one would also wish those involved a relaxing tea in between.

Film finds no center

With its intrigues, "Mary Queen of Scots" is sometimes reminiscent of "Game of Thrones", only compressed to two hours. The two most important characters, however, are historically documented figures: Queen Mary from the House of Stuart, who was married to the French King Francis II and returned as a widow and Catholic at the age of 18 to ascend the throne in Presbyterian Scotland. And Queen Elizabeth I, Queen of England, her cousin, whose throne she actually regards as hers. Although this rivalry has never existed historically, director Josie Rourke nevertheless fills the rooms with conflicts: with Mary's seedy half-brother, who is suddenly supposed to give up his power; with John Knox (David Tennant) as fire-preaching, Protestant cleric against the "whore" on the throne; with her future husband, who himself seems to be just a game of power (his father's); and with Queen Elizabeth casting her nets for Mary to get entangled in. The fact that Mary's husband has a gay relationship with another man from the court and that religious wars take place as miniatures between the castle walls remain too half-baked as interesting elements. Director Josie Rourke relies primarily on a constant fire of tumult and turmoil, in which symptoms of fatigue set in after a while. Despite the constant external drama, little internal tension arises from it. The power of the images, which repeatedly tell of bad premonitions in an impressively gloomy and dark manner, cannot have a moderating effect on their characters, the downfall is only a matter of time. Rourke uses interesting contrasts: Mary, embodied by Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement"), with white skin, red hair and as a woman in the midst of a heap of men, holds on bravely in this battle. But even Ronan's permanently serious expression, due to the lack of small rays of light in between, will eventually lose the nuances that would be the last resort out of the constant excitement. With Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) there is an interesting adversary whose physical (smallpox) and power-technical decline generates some interest. But their missions are too short in between. Ultimately, the film does not find a center, which it shares with its hapless protagonist.