Lady Macbeth

Director: William Oldroyd
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 3.0

Katherine (Florence Pugh) is in a loveless marriage with older Alexander (Paul Hilton) - he won't 'consummate' their relationship for some reason - so she begins an affair with one of her husband's employees, gruff Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) ... and then she starts taking people out, starting with her father-in-law. Some detractors have talked about how it rehashes 'familiar themes' in costume dramas, and they'd be correct, but I'm on the side of John Waters, who put it in his annual Top Ten movies of 2017: this is simply nasty and politically incorrect and ruthless (it's based on a 1865 novella by Nikolai Leskov), with no wasted space and, of course, a tincture of feminism added to the bitter wine (although I'm not so sure what Oldroyd's trying to say about race - that part is muddled). It's a star-making vehicle for Pugh, whose defiant lead will poison, suffocate and expel anyone that crosses her ... and remains an identifiable anti-heroine.