Edward II

  • Film
  • Drama
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This modern dress adaptation of Marlowe's play excites through its sheer guts and combativeness. Despite the visual lyricism, the mood is raw and angry. Jarman re-uses his sub-Brechtian clothes-as-class characterisation: scheming Mortimer (Terry) in army officer kit; nobles in business suits; Isabella (Swinton) in a Vogue's gallery of designer dresses; Edward's supporters as gay Outrage activists. Jarman rips from Marlowe what is relevant to our times, to comment on the repressive nature of the British state; but this is problematic. The tragic, idealistic love of Edward (Waddington) for lowly-born, upstart Gaveston (Tiernan) speaks volumes about gay relationships in repressive, class-conscious societies, but Isabella's relationship with Mortimer is shown in images redolent of horror movies. This ambivalence, however, does not deny the film's power. Central to its pleasures are the performances; it isn't Jarman's best film, but it's his most accessible.

Release details

Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Derek Jarman
Screenwriter: Derek Jarman, Stephen Mcbride, Ken Butler
Cast: Nigel Terry
Annie Lennox
John Lynch
Roger Hammond
Kevin Collins
Steven Waddington
Tilda Swinton
Jerome Flynn
Andrew Tiernan
Dudley Sutton
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