British director Derek Jarman raged against the dying of the light. In the years just before before he died of AIDS in 1994 at the age of 52, he did some of his most inventive and daring work. None of his final movies is more fascinating than Edward II, his adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's 16th-century play about the royal intrigue surrounding one of England's legendarily bad monarchs.

Jarman keeps the language but takes the story out of its 14th-century timeframe, fills it with anachronisms, presents it with minimal sets against a black background, and turns it into a furious rant against the homophobia of the Thatcher-era England of the '80s and early '90s. Though Marlowe wrote a gay subtext into his play, Jarman moves it up front: Edward is gay, he gives too much power to his gay lover, and they both have to be destroyed before things get out of hand.

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