Lively historical drama loses its head

Rourke recreates history with an arresting visual flair, but cannot exert the same grip on her overloaded story

20th January, 2019
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Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots

Josie Rourke, artistic director of London’s acclaimed Donmar Warehouse theatre and a multiple Olivier-award winner, makes her film debut with Mary Queen of Scots, casting the peerless Saoirse Ronan as the doomed 16th-century Scottish monarch engaged in a battle of birth and blood against her cousin Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie), scheming in London.

Casting aside her theatrical roots, and the abounding clichés inherent in the genre, Rourke recreates history with an arresting visual...

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