BFI London Film Festival: Judy & Punch

Judy & Punch
Judy & Punch
Directed by Mirrah Foulkes
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Tom Budge, Benedict Hardie and Lucy Velik
Screening at LFF October 12th and 13th, 2019

by Gemsy

This meta-macabre retelling of the most famous violently abusive couple in puppet theatre history takes place in Seaside – which is, in fact, landlocked. It’s a town obsessed with uncovering witches, punishing heresy and, of course, drinking.
In the midst of the town’s rowdy mix of hangings and hangovers, a commonly (ahem) “punch”-drunk but charismatic husband (Damon Herriman) and his skilled and superior wife (Mia Wasikowska) attempt to relaunch their master puppet show until a terrible tragedy befalls the couple and accusations fly wide, wild and Wiccan.

The town’s awkward and sweet-natured constable Derrick (Benedict Hardie) attempts to maintain order in a delightfully ineffectual manner – while the law is taken into many different puppet-covered hands.

Judy & Punch is a sublime example of Australian black humour that mixes feminism and ferocious revenge like a farcical Lady Vengeance. At times it borders on the ridiculous, but these moments only add to the morbid melodrama, and it certainly doesn’t pull its grisly (ahem once more) “punch”es.

Director Mirrah Foulkes’ immersive world is captivating and terrifying, and Wasikowska’s Judy is a fearsome force with which to be reckoned. This heady combination subjects us to a horribly real sequence of events culminating in a finale that leaves us cheering and reaching for the retching bucket synonymously.

You’ll be pleased as Punch with this knock out!



 

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