Available on DVD, Blu Ray and Amazon Prime
Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her father forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done, she gave her mother forty one
This Chloe Sevigny passion project was apparently in the works in various forms for a while. It was new to me, but something about Lizzie appealed- probably that I like a bit of true crime. Also that I like Chloe Sevigny. True crime podcasts are part of my everyday life but I knew nothing of the Lizzie Borden story really, past the rather terrifying nursery rhyme above. I was fascinated to see how it was brought to life.
Perhaps Sevigny’s kudos as a talented actress popular in the thespian world with an aura of cool, perhaps simply the story, attracted an excellent cast to Lizzie. Kristen Stewart is far and away the biggest name, but there’s a plethora of incredible actors here. Performers so superb at their craft they carry films without you noticing who they are. In my mind, a great actor is a character alone. Not a name.
I used to sing in a choir, and someone once complimented a particular singer, not me obviously, to my choirmaster. He told us about it. He was livid. A choir should exult in perfect harmony, communicating the song’s splendour in unity. I feel the same about film, specifically the supporting cast. Lizzie's actors achieve this harmony, a feat I found rather refreshing. Credit to director Craig William Macneill there,too.
The novelty here is of real life murders, turned into a psychological thriller with a strong feminist undercurrent; Lizzie is a far more effective film than its reputation or IMDb rating suggest. Not knowing how much artistic licence the filmmakers have taken with the story (I’d imagine a fair amount) It is still nice to see it dramatised. I found it highly entertaining, tense and with a sense of mystery which true crime needs sometimes.
Bedsit it? Respect to Chloe Sevigny, you can see why she wanted to make Lizzie so much. I’m glad she (and I) went for it. I strongly recommend going in blind, without seeing the trailer. The air of uncertainty is perhaps the most potent part of its storytelling. A very solid 7/10
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