Watch Edward II
- 1 hr 30 min
Edward II is a historical drama from 1991 based on a play by Christopher Marlowe. Directed by Derek Jarman, the film follows the short and tragic reign of King Edward II of England, who ruled from 1307 to 1327. The movie stars Steven Waddington as Edward II, Kevin Collins as his loyal friend and lover Piers Gaveston, and Andrew Tiernan as the rebellious baron Roger Mortimer. Other notable cast members include Tilda Swinton as Edward's wife Queen Isabella, Nigel Terry as Edward's father King Edward I, and Dudley Sutton as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The film begins with the coronation of Edward II as the king of England, who is immediately beset by problems. The country is in debt, the French are threatening to invade, and the barons are unhappy with his rule. Edward II, however, is more interested in his relationship with Piers Gaveston, who he has brought back from exile and bestowed with the title of Earl of Cornwall. The two men are openly affectionate and share a close bond, but their relationship is seen as scandalous and threatens to undermine Edward's authority.
As Edward becomes increasingly obsessed with Piers, he neglects his duties as king, infuriating the barons who demand that he banish his lover. Edward refuses, leading to a power struggle between him and the barons, who are supported by his own wife Isabella. The conflict eventually erupts into a full-scale civil war, with Edward and Piers facing off against the rebels led by Roger Mortimer.
Throughout the film, Jarman uses a mix of modern and medieval imagery to create a unique visual style that is both striking and surreal. The movie features a minimalist set design, with stark white walls and minimal props, which serves to emphasize the characters and their actions. The costumes are also an eclectic mix of medieval and modern styles, with characters wearing everything from leather jackets to chainmail and swords.
Jarman also incorporates elements of queer culture into the film, highlighting the relationships between Edward and Piers, as well as the underlying tensions between Edward and the other men in his life. The movie portrays Edward as a sympathetic character, whose love for Piers is genuine and heartfelt, even in the face of overwhelming opposition.
Overall, Edward II is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores themes of power, love, and sexuality through a historical lens. The movie is anchored by strong performances from its cast, particularly Waddington and Collins, who bring depth and nuance to their respective roles. While the film can be difficult to watch at times, due to its graphic violence and sexual content, it is ultimately a rewarding viewing experience that offers a new perspective on an oft-overlooked period of English history.
Edward II is a 1992 history movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.