Mass(cre) Media

Speak Loudly and Carry No Big Sticks
Official Site | Trailers & Mo

PG-13 | 154 min

Whenever writer/director Mike Leigh has a project in the works, I get super excited.  Sure, his movies aren’t Marvel spectacles, but that’s why I get excited, because they are the opposite of those.  Leigh’s films are intricate, fraught and tender character pieces, with a strong emphasis on character.  When I heard his next film was called Peterloo, I was like, ooooh, what’s that?  Is that Waterloo’s brother?  Is it somewhere on the Tube’s Bakerloo line?  Whatever, I was all in, regardless of what it was!

And what Peterloo was is something that takes Leigh far out of his wheelhouse, and into the wide open cities and countryside.  We could see this coming.  When he dropped his previous film on us, the excellent Mr Turner, his canvas was starting to expand outside of the modern day British home, and with his latest he goes for the gusto in a large ensemble piece about human rights and strife in early 19th century England

The talk here in 1819 is big and LOUD.  Any actor you see in this movie certainly brought Leigh their A-game and acted the SH$T out of whatever lines he gave them (Rory Kinnear gets the biggest A+ out of all the other A-gamers).  And I hung on every single word spoken.  The message was clear (and again, LOUD), but the whole felt more like pieces that never made a complete picture  

In the final act, the talk turned into action, where we learn what Peterloo was.  What started as a peaceful public meeting of the Nothern English people, who were sick of being ignored and under-represented in Parliament, turned into something horrid.  The local authorities in power sensed that the people and their assembly were a threat and so they issued arrest warrants for the meeting’s key speakers.  Calvarymen charged in to keep the peace, but chaos is what actually ensued.  It turned into a giant massacre, and Leigh’s film ends with bloodshed, and more questions than answers.  That’s probably the point, but as an American with little knowledge of English history and their civil rights, having things spelled out (how about some text at the end of what happened next) would have certainly helped.  Still, my ears are still ringing from all the big talk!  Let freedom ring, LOUD AND CLEAR!!!

Verdictgo: Jeepers Worth A Peepers

Peterloo talks the good talk in limited release

and until next thyme the balcony is clothed…

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