Mary Queen of Scots wants to be a big feminist picture. A brutal excoriation of the wrongs done to women, powerful before their time, brought down by men who cannot counteance their position. In truth I have little idea how historical a work it is, writer Beau Willimon (of House of Cards, among others) adapted the work from an acclaimed biography — but one senses that his tastes are a little too contemporary for the material.
If there was any promise evident in Terry George and Robin Swicord’s often clunking screenplay before production started, it is not apparent in the final film. It has been stolen away, in these flat, overlit scenes edited with a clear mandate to keep the running time low and accompanied by this overwrought score.