The Duke of Burgundy

"Excellent"

The Duke of Burgundy Review


With a 1970s style so florid that you can almost smell it, we're not surprised that there's a credit for perfume in this film's opening titles. This is another astonishingly sensual movie from British filmmaker Peter Strickland (see Katalin Varga and Berberian Sound Studio), mingling vivid sound and imagery with a story that can't help but get under the skin, even though it's utterly bonkers. Yes, the movie is simply that vivid and raw.

It's set in a parallel retro reality in which men don't seem to exist. Cynthia (Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen) is an expert on moths and butterflies who teaches at the local university and at home treats her maid Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna) with shockingly rudeness. Except that they're actually a couple in a roleplaying S&M relationship. And Evelyn is clearly the one in charge, asking to be punished in a variety of eyebrow-raising ways. But Cynthia is beginning to feel bad about hurting the woman she loves, so she changes the game. And this forces both women to truly explore what they want and need from each other.

For a movie styled after those trashy 1970s European lesbian romps, this film is remarkably easy to identify with. The sadomasochistic sex is both more transgressive and sexier than anything in Fifty Shades of Grey, and the emotions are also much deeper and more resonant. Everyone can identify with facing up to the expectations within a relationship, and the delicate balance as we try to maintain our own identity while bending to the needs of another person. Strickland has found a startlingly artistic way to express this idea that shocks us with its format while engaging us in a startlingly powerful way we don't quite see coming. And he infuses the film with a terrific undercurrent of hilariously dark humour.

Both Knudsen and D'Anna offer cleverly layered performances that let us glimpse the real person behind the facade. Waves of happiness and pain wash over them, along with their inner strength and intense affection for each other. And Strickland's direction is a technical marvel, mixing soft-focus lushness with razor-sharp textures, both in the intricate sound mix and in Nic Knowland's painterly cinematography. This is such a brilliant one-off that it's bound to become a classic among more adventurous moviegoers. Not only does it tantalise all of the senses and provoke us with some rather extreme ideas, but it properly grapples with issues we all know a bit too well.


The Duke of Burgundy Trailer

 



The Duke of Burgundy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd January 2015

Box Office USA: $32.6k

Budget: $1000 thousand

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Rook Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Andrew Starke

Starring: Sidse Babett Knudsen as Cynthia, Chiara D'Anna as Evelyn, Monica Swinn as Lorna, Eugenia Caruso as Dr. Fraxini, Fatma Mohamed as The Carpenter, Kata Bartsch as Dr. Lurida

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.