Revenger's Tragedy Review

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Sex, revenge, murder, incest, betrayal, apocalyptic omens and tabletop football presented in rhyming couplets and modern idioms, all wrapped up with murderous black humour and a decidedly punk aesthetic.


Authorship of the 17th century play upon which this is based is a point of some academic argument; but there can be no doubting that it is very much an Alex Cox film - and his best in many years.

Opening with the proverb 'Let the man who seeks revenge remember to dig two graves', 'Revengers Tragedy' warns us that we are in for heartache and bloodshed - and delivers both in spades.

Seeking vengeance for his murdered bride, Vindici (Ecclestone) infiltrates the court of The Duke (Jacobi) through his machinations with The Duke's son Lussurioso (Izzard.)

Cox throws just about everything into this mix - some of it works, some falls flat - but the whole anarchic experiment manages to stay afloat. Comparisons with Baz Luhrmann are inevitable and unfortunate; this has more in common with Derek Jarman, and the closing image of the Queen's portrait is a concrete reminder of the time, place and punk movement that shaped Cox's ideals and cinematic approach.

An honest and brave experiment that succeeds more often than if fails. Not to everyone's taste, but intriguing and often beguiling.