HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Judy & Punch Puppetry Of The Heinous
Year: 2019
Director: Mirrah Foulkes
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Benedict Hardie, Jacek Koman, Amy Christian, Tom Budge, Karuna Stamell, Virginia Gay, Eddie Baroo, Terry Norris, Don Bridges, Lucy Velik, Gillian Jones, Paul Ireland, Daisy Axon, Michael M. Foster, Ben Knight, Sue Hill
Genre: Horror, Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) are two puppeteers in the seventeenth century who are experts at their craft, but it is a dual effort and without one, the act would not work out. However, Punch is very keen to better his standing and hopes they will attract the attention of talent scouts and take them to the big city, though he has to be careful he does not take a tipple at all, since that can adversely affect both his temperament and his skill. They live in a house at the outskirts of the town of Seaside (which is not near the sea) with their elderly servants and their baby, but perhaps Judy puts too much trust in her husband not to mess everything up completely...

The Punch and Judy story, as an act, runs heavily on tradition, as every performance is more or less the same, staged by a variety of "professors", but unchanging since the inception of the entertainment. However, the violence inherent in the narrative came in for some squeamishness the further time went on, as the lead character Mr Punch was wont to not only beat up everyone he came into contact with, but that included his wife and baby, cue "Is this the sort of thing we should be showing our children?" thinkpieces and ruminations. With this film, writer and director Mirrah Foulkes, an actress making her feature debut at the helm, had two methods to approach this.

She could either present it as a savage criticism of the whole concept of using domestic abuse, among other things, as fun, or she could dig deeper and get to the heart of the matter, that Mr Punch's behaviour was not demonstrated to be laudable in the puppet show, and he was actually the villain, or at best a mischievous antihero whose crimes were rightly punished. In effect, Foulkes adopted both of those stances, for there was nothing admirable about her Punch as depicted here, but she repositioned it as a tale of a woman seeking recompense for a terrible incident inflicted upon her by her spouse. With that in mind, you could feel certain areas of the audience bristling.

Yet it succeeded very well, not least because Foulkes had a very good eye for a captivating image that rendered this somewhere nearer a fairy tale, along with its repercussions to telling such ancient stories centuries later when arguably the world had moved on, or at least it should have. That fable quality was possibly the strongest suit in a film with a powerful, but not strident, message, and offered resonance to what could have been a facile and reductive reading of what after all was not taken seriously even by the kids who watched such puppet shows. The crimes Punch commits here, when acted out by real people, lent an air of the grotesque to the proceedings that would not have been present with glove puppets, which was let's face it a man with his arms up hitting himself on the hands for a few minutes.

This stuck close to the tradition in that Punch abuses the baby, though not through malice, he's simply an idiot - the dog and the sausages aid him in his downfall, as in the puppetry. What he does to Judy when she asks, not unreasonably, what has happened to their child when it goes missing is more on the evil scale of activity and leads her to be buried in a shallow grave, left for dead. But there was more to this even than that, as the witch hunters, always seeking to bolster their social respectability off the backs of the unfortunate souls they victimise and scapegoat, include most of the community, whipped up into a bloodthirsty frenzy by supposed moral leaders who are nothing of the kind. How this ties in with Punch and Judy should by all rights have been awkward, yet though the film probably ran a shade too long, its purpose was to make you think, and in that it achieved its goals. Not perfect, but a very strong showing, and instructive to contrast with Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's nineties comic book Mr Punch. Music by François Tétaz.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 842 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: