The Revenger's Tragedy-Movie Review

The Revenger's Tragedy Film Review

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The Revenger's Tragedy

Dir. Alex Cox
UK, 2002
35mm 109 min.

A Revengers Tragedy provides the perfect platform for the very individual talents of director Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy, Repo Man).

Working from an impressive adaptation by Frank Cottrell Boyce of Thomas Middleton's 1607 play, he concocts a gloriously over-the-top revenge comedy-drama that could attract a cult following.

The updated play is transposed to gangland Liverpool of 2011, a ravaged city replete with partly demolished buildings and wrecked cars that is run by a corrupt duke and his vicious sons. Christopher Eccleston plays Vindici, a nobleman who returns to the city to avenge the murder of his bride, killed by the lusty duke (Derek Jacobi, sporting pale makeup and bright-red lipstick).

Vindici plots and counterplots against the duke's sons and other enemies until bloodshed and mayhem bring about the end of the rule of the duke and his clan. Eccleston is powerful as the conniving Vindici, while Jacobi is suitably outrageous as the nasty duke.

Perhaps best of all, though, is Eddie Izzard as the duke's scheming son Lussurioso. With delectable line delivery, he maintains a devious playfulness throughout the story. The film is also littered with various Liverpool-based performers, including Margi Clarke as Hannah and Antony Booth (father-in-law to British Prime Minister Tony Blair) as Lord Antonio.

There is a great deal of individualistic energy to Cox's film, which best of all achieves that great feat of not fitting into any easy cinematic bracket. Mixing comedy-drama with horror-revenge, he has constructed a refreshingly odd and highly watchable film.

Mark Adams