Queen Margot Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Isabelle Adjani, Vincent Perez, Daniel Auteuil
  • Director: Patrice Chereau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 159 minutes



            Adapted from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, Queen Margot gives narrative to the real-life Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre, which resulted in an unknown numbers of Protestants being slaughtered in France, 1572. It is a period piece that is absolutely brimming with urgency, rich with details of the period down to the ugliest blemishes. We feel immersed in another time, as though the world that director Patrice Chéreau has created would naturally extend beyond the view of the camera. All of the dirt and the blood which soils all of the fancy French garments bring the period to life in a way that makes the critical praise acquired by the film’s original 1994 debut at the Cannes Film Festival completely understandable.


            Unfortunately, the version released at the international film festival was not the same as the edit given to the North American release. Twenty-minutes were cut from the film, leaving many in the United States without the opportunity to see the version which had garnered such praise. Only with the release of this 20th Anniversary director’s cut is the original version finally available in the United States, and the visual mastery of production values is in gloriously rich high definition on the Blu-ray. As well as the detail of the period production values, the high definition provides added clarity in the presentation of actress Isabelle Adjani’s beauty.


            As enjoyable as Adjani’s delicate features may be, reminding me of Megan Fox and a young Jennifer Connelly, they are also crucial to her role as the title character in Queen Margot. Margot is used by her family in marriage for political gains. During a break in the religious war between Catholics and Protestants, Catholic King Charles IX (Jean-Hugues Anglade) arranges for Margot to marry the Protestant Huguenot King Henry of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), unaware that his diabolical Queen Mother (Virna Lisi) intends to use the event for an attack.  


            While Margot unwillingly weds King Henry, it is clear that her objections have less to do with his religion than other factors when she begins an affair a Protestant survivor following the massacre. La Móle (Vincent Pérez) becomes Margot’s secret lover, while Henry finds his own lover in the Catholic Charlotte of Sauve (Asia Argento), but they manage to garner a respect for each other despite a lack of romance in their unwanted marriage. Margot is able to protect Henry from the slaughter, and he gives her the hope of a sanctuary with La Móle in Navarre, assuming they can escape together.


            The Blu-ray release of the director’s cut is worthwhile even without the extras, which include a fantastic collectible booklet insert, complete with photos as essays about the film and its historical significance. The film also has an optional audio commentary with Director Emeritus of the New York Film Festival, Richard Peña. There is also a 2014 re-release trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 7.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

    Historical Significance:  7.5/10

    Special Features: 7/10

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