Shekhar Kapur depicts the ascension and early reign of Elizabeth the First (Cate Blanchett), queen of a divided England. She is perceived as weak, is despised by Catholics, and is plagued by endless attempts by her council to marry her off. Features Cate Blanchett in her star-making performance.
Watch an interview with Cate Blanchett before she was famous (above)
Watch Margaret and David review 'Elizabeth' (above, video 2)
Elizabeth is brimful of colonial talent: Geoffrey Rush plays Elizabeth's astute adviser, Walsingham, and the director is Shekhar Kapur who made Bandit Queen, and the editor was Jill Bilcock, of Strictly Ballroom and Romeo & Juliet fame, and she's done a magnificent job on this film. One thing is for sure, Cate Blanchett will emerge from Elizabeth a major international star. She is luminescent as Virgin Queen, her performance so fine.
The film, of necessity, takes a broad view of the first years of Elizabeth's reign in a rather declamatory style. I would have preferred a bit more texture because this woman was truly extraordinary. Shekhar Kapur has made the film look very dark in keeping with the times, and you realise what fabulous sets some British architecture provide, and there are lots of shots looking down from up high, reminding us how these characters are pawns of history.
It's such a rich period with a fascinating central character and a new Australian star in the ascendant.