Just last year, Shakespeare's King Lear was transposed to the criminal underworld of contemporary Liverpool. Now director Alex Cox and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce have done much the same to Thomas Middleton's Jacobean tragi-comedy, plonking it slap-bang in the middle of the city. Only this time, it's a war-ravaged, futuristic Liverpool.
Vindici (Christopher Eccleston) is the wild-eyed stranger in town, out to make the ruling dynasty pay for the wedding-day murder of his wife a decade earlier. His plan is to infiltrate the royal court by befriending the villainous son and heir Lussurioso (Eddie Izzard).
Shot in the spirit of one of Derek Jarman's anarchic provocations, A Revenger's Tragedy collides the original 17th-century dialogue with present-day profanities and gaudily decorates its cast with an array of tattoos, body piercings and outlandish hairstyles. Contemporary parallels to the beatification of Princess Diana and the malign influence of Rupert Murdoch are then sledgehammered home, ensuring the film fails to so much as tickle the emotions, let alone engage them.
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