I was rather disappointed in this film. It felt like a clunky, poorly-written stage show, with buffoonish parodies of the villains. It was a very wordy film, probably because much of the speechifying was taken from the orations at the time and, as one of the characters says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”. Many of the working-class characters felt like parodies- as if they were in a Monty Python movie.
However, it wasn’t all bad. The approach towards the protesters was more nuanced, picking up on the differences of political strategy and levels of education, and the tension leading up to the Peterloo massacre was well held. It was odd that there was no explanation of the fall-out from the massacre – perhaps because only 18 died? – and the consequences were political in terms of more repression, which doesn’t fit well into a “what happened next” paragraph?
I think I just expected more from a director of Mike Leigh’s stature.
My rating: 3/5