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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "Mary Queen Of Scots"

With last year’s “I, Tonya” Margot Robbie showed that she had some pretty serious acting chops that got her noticed by a lot of the major voters within the film industry. After making her big introduction to mass audiences with “The Wolf of Wall Street,” there have been some choices made that took her brief time in the spotlight on one heck of a roller coaster ride, and with her latest vehicle, she seems to be back on top.

First time director Josie Burke puts her and Saoirse Ronan at odds with “Mary Queen of Scots” with Robbie playing Queen Elizabeth I in the tale that picks up Mary Stuart’s story as she returns to her home of Scotland after the death of her French husband to reclaim her throne and more as she has a claim on the throne of England as well. As a staunch Catholic, the Protestant faction in Scotland sees her as a threat to their freedoms even though she has no plans on forcing their hands to her denomination of faith. While this is going on, QEI’s advisors are trying to get her to put Mary out of their way as her bloodline puts a roadblock in their way of life as well, and if Mary can produce an heir, it will upset the balance of power they believe works in their favor.

With a cast that also includes Guy Pearce, Gemma Chan, and Ismael Cruz Cordova (who has become “that guy in that thing”), there is not a single slouch performance here. Although this is not an ensemble piece, everyone does their part to bring this story to the screen as Robbie and Ronan do battle brilliantly. There are moments where I felt like this was a Victorian version of “The Godfather” with an ending that reminded me of the seminal scene of “Heat” as the two heavy hitters finally have their face-to-face moment that is more than worth the price of admission alone. This story of a struggle for power while trying to avoid war has a lot of layers that remind us all that absolute power corrupts absolutely. From the personal issues to ambition from within each of their inner circles, it’s all out there, and that may be where the problem lies.

Getting to that point straight on: this film felt WAY too long. Granted, period pieces of this type tend to go that way, but that doesn’t mean that this one had to. “Mary Queen of Scots” did not bore me in any way, but it just felt like forever by the time we got to the end credits. This fact is really the only thing that kept this film from getting to the upper echelon of my list for the year, but it still finds itself nicely up there. Whether a history buff or not, this is a film that audiences of all types can enjoy.

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