“Elizabeth” explores the rise to power of Queen Elizabeth I. The history is a bit creative at times but it does an amazing job of bringing the character and demeanor of this monarch to life. They certainly don't shy away from blood and violence, which helps to keep the film from becoming a boring textbook biopic as it somehow manages to blend political drama with a historic epic. Cate Blanchett is perfect in this role (as indicated by her Oscar nomination) and likely could have won in a year that didn’t feature another period film (“Shakespeare in Love”) that cleaned up because the critics preferred it. I’m still trying to figure out how Joseph Fiennes managed to get cast as the romantic male lead in both English Renaissance era films of 1998. What are the chances? The cast is rounded out by Geoffrey Rush and Richard Attenborough, but it really is all about Blanchett and the growing assertiveness of her character. The dramatic choral score gives the entire film a dark, disturbing tone. Some of its best moments are when it incorporates famous pieces of classical music into its key moments. I loved the intense contrast created between the beauty of Elgar's "Nimrod" and a series of assassinations, as well as Mozart's "Requiem" being played as she takes control of the throne. The film is notable for its visual aspects including Oscar nominations for Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography, and a win for Makeup. But once again, it lost out to the other period film that the critics deemed to be better. “Elizabeth” is often overlooked because of the other Renaissance film of 1998 but it is absolutely worth your time for an interesting look at the 17th century English monarchy and Queen Elizabeth I’s rise to power.
[Pictured; This film is all about the amazing performance by Cate Blanchett]