Director: William Oldroyd
It appears to be a month of period dramas this month, well, with films like The Promise, Their Finest and The Zookeeper's Wife, with this one set a little further back in the 1800s. Astonishingly, it's a directorial debut from Oldroyd who displays great understanding and craftsmanship of the art.
It's based on the novella, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov that's about a young 19th century woman married off into an isolating relationship in the British countryside. Housebound and alone, her boredom and non-existent sex life lead her down a dark and scandalous path.
Consumed by lust, obsession and desire she becomes a cold and calculating mistress that will do absolutely anything to continue her sordid affair; including murder. Pugh plays Lady Macbeth to perfection giving a powerful, gripping and mesmerising performance. As does Jarvis, who plays her lover and accomplice. Seeing him become riddle with eventual guilt was unnervingly good.
It must have been a challenge to project the feeling of boredom without the film actually falling victim of it itself, but Oldroyd carefully weaves it together to make it quite a dramatic work of art. There's some stunning scenes that really encapsulates the time and era.
The production as a whole is superbly played out. The costumes are on point, the location, the makeup, or lack of. (Have to say, I find Pugh more beautiful without it) even the absolute minimal use of music, which is more tonal than actual song, emphasising on the performance instead of it becoming a filler. It actually adds a realism, an acknowledgement of how quiet those days could have been. No radio, no TV; no background music.
Oldroyd does a fine piece of work for his debut, an elegant yet simple story of a lustful woman, a victim of circumstance and convenience tempted by her own rebellious nature. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the screen next.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Probably Not.