Thomas Imbach’s Mary Queen of Scots is anything but special. Delivered in a very unmoving way it is the story of her life and the story of her life alone that drives the film forward.
Imbach’s rendition has a dull ‘and then this happened and then this happened’ feel to it which swallows up the excitement of the plot.
However his depiction of Rizzio (Mehdi Dehbi), the queen’s private secretary, is quite enchanting. Rizzio adds a surreal quality to his story-telling that is both charismatic and at the same time cuts into the humdrum of the film.
Camille Rutherford carries the regal role of Mary with grace delivering a subtly strong performance. Imbach’s choice to use a running narrative of her inner monologue works well adding clarity to what could otherwise be a complicated plot. It also allows us deeper insight into Mary’s deep yearning for a relationship with her cousin Queen Elizabeth.
Mary’s love affair with Sean Biggerstaff’s Bothwell also offers some spark of interest. Biggerstaff and Rutherford have compelling on screen chemistry that gives the significance of the ending greater impact.
However, significant or not, the sluggish pace of the film means each scene drags from one to the next without stirring up much excitement. The over dramatic, over stylised composition is also a bore.