LFF 2019 Preview - Judy And Punch
Dir: Mirrah Foulkes
Judy & Punch is a dark fairy tale-like reinvention of a classic puppet show that engages even if it doesn’t fully succeed. Mr Punch (Herriman) is a renowned puppeteer, an equally renowned drunk and a misogynist – as reflected in the Punch and Judy story. The always excellent Wasikowska is his wife Judy, also a dab hand with the puppets and the recipient of his violent outbursts. All the elements of the classic children’s show are in place – there’s a dog that steals strings of sausages, a ‘gator and a benign policeman, but Foulkes’ film struggles to locate these seaside sideshow elements into a coherent and satisfying whole – even though the film takes place in a land-locked town called “Seaside.”
When Punch’s violent outbursts result in the apparent death and ramshackle burying of his wife, things takes an interesting turn and the movie moves towards becoming a horror-revenge story – but even that is never rendered fully satisfying.
It’s an interesting take on an age-old story, but the brevity of said story leaves this extrapolation full of unsatisfactory holes. It’s like pointing at something but never really finding the depth within it.
Judy & Punch plays the LFF on 12 & 13 October. For more info go to https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/
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