Dir. Craig William Macneill
14 September 2018
SLOW. This film is a slow burn, possibly keeping audiences engaged through a mix of detailed performances and cinematographic beauty before rewarding them with the anticipated murders, but do not minimize the slowness of its initial pace. It is intentional. Subverting. Plotting. Stylistically mimicking the inner goings on of Lizzie, herself.
Lizzie is a 2018 Sundance film positing one theory concerning the deaths of Andrew and Abby Borden, the infamous titular character’s less famed father and stepmother. Exposition is woven into the creeping rising action rather than laid bare at the beginning. Chloe Sevigny’s Lizzie is uncomfortably relatable and a touch biting, with well-earned moments of verbal wit keeping me interested throughout. Kristen Stewart is well suited as Irish maid Bridget Sullivan. While the character is not a huge departure from Stewart’s expected roles, she is more controlled subtle here. Fiona Shaw, Jamey Sheridan, and Denis O’Hare are excellent as characters we love to hate, though I would pretty much watch O’Hare watch paint dry at this point.
The film is a beautiful artwork. The set design, costumes, and camerawork add significantly to the experience. It is almost like a painting is taking form before you as you watch. It is that slow development that may be the film’s one drawback for a popular contemporary audience. It is an interesting film done well, but it certainly does require some work from its viewers.
Honestly, I went to see this piece largely based on my enjoyment of the stage play Blood Relations, which also presents a possible scenario for the murders. The play moves faster than the film and it also ends more dramatically. They are certainly two very different pieces, but if you are interested in the Borden case, Blood Relations is well worth your time.