Peterloo (2018)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, History


Peterloo (2018) Poster

The story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.

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6.4/10
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  • Karl Farrer in Peterloo (2018)
  • Peterloo (2018)
  • Peterloo (2018)
  • Peterloo (2018)
  • Peterloo (2018)
  • Karl Farrer in Peterloo (2018)

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10 May 2019 | ReadingFilm
His epics are somehow better than his social dramas
Rather his intimate eye scales beautifully into epics. This is an unusually progressive work as it shows a future of cinema as collective vs. collective. It is about theater, not politics (or they would say the reverse). It takes 'the speech' and brings it out dozens with many variations like poets trading on the stage. Its subject is persuasion, in moving the chess of collectives through the power of oration. "I don't understand what she's saying." The one did not understand as in the abstract, as in "am I the only one realizing this gibberish has nothing to do with anything?" It's not clear the others understand either, but they're taken. This is how movements instigate is not logically but mutual quantity, and I notice it with cinema that at some point in the last ten years they began to stop striving to engage individuals and began speaking to entire demographics bringing this effect of a backward market. What they found is audiences can't tell the difference. With Peterloo, critics had it reversed that the build-up was a chore. The slaughter was usual. The speeches were new. Some criticized Leigh for making the villains caricatures, but he hates them... but yes they're very much Sweeney Todd without the dicing. Scratch that. Without the songs. Well there's some songs. "What will the year 1900 be like?" This threw me for a loop not just for its irony of 'more of the same indefinitely' but I am looking into a film which is projecting a hundred years ahead to what already happened a century ago. And how does one wrap their mind around this? There are so many realities played with at once while the film attempts to subvert its own reality before our eyes as a sort of meta-theater. Its beauty is it's a densely staged work of theater about characters watching the reality play out before them as theater become real through its deathly consequences. Even when they assemble to watch they're eating snacks as if in the theater. They want a voice and only actors and orators can provide this in a grand way, who are brought in as if rolling tanks down the road. The voice is their great 19th century nuclear weapon. It's festive. A ritual proving they can be heard. Proving that they exist.

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