Directed by: Shekhar Kapur. This movie drew my interest purely because of my passing nerd fascination with English monarchy and English history in film. Also, these Elizabeth films are fairly big players in the contemporary scene and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Cate Blanchett is certainly one of the best actors out there today. I actually can’t think offhand of a single performance of hers that wasn’t at least very good, and I can think of several that are fantastically memorable—The Aviator, I’m Not There, Coffee and Cigarettes, Notes on a Scandal—and on and on. Likewise for the excellent Geoffrey Rush (another of the amazing Aussie actors out there right now). And yet…not really a great movie generally, and not really great performances from either of these two. Blanchett and Rush are certainly good in their roles—they do what is demanded of them very exceptionally. But it’s difficult to judge such things when the context in which the performance is carried out—the flat characters, the haughty soap opera tone, the overdone, predictable score—is so lifeless. I could say something like: “These exceptional actors do their utmost to bring vibrancy into this lifeless void”, but what does that even mean? I can certainly say that without the noble efforts of Blanchett, Rush, and supporting players Chris Eccleston, Jamie Foreman, and Kelly MacDonald, this would verge toward the unwatchable. And however neat it was to see old Eric Cantona (go and see Ken Loach’s excellent Looking for Eric right now), the overdone stereotypical buffoonery they got Vincent Cassell doing is like making Peter Sellers do a “pull my finger” routine. Overall, this director seems like a very boring, tedious, unimaginative person with a similar view of history. I described this movie to someone as a real movie that looks like one of those awful fake movies that play at the beginning of an “Extras” episode. Now the difficult question: do I see the sequel or not…?