Review: ‘Henry X’

Some will think filmmakers Marc Lempert's and Dan MacCannell's futuristic take on "Henry X," about the overthrow of Britain's Windsor royal family by a renegade prince, as Shakespeare on a bender. But it's more like John Webster in his rankest mood, and all that's left is stratagems, sex and murder. Worse, crudely shot and performed vid's war "action" would be funny if the project didn't take itself so seriously. Pic will hold court at only the neediest of fests.

This review was corrected on May 7, 2003.

Some will think filmmakers Marc Lempert’s and Dan MacCannell’s futuristic take on “Henry X,” about the overthrow of Britain’s Windsor royal family by a renegade prince, as Shakespeare on a bender. But it’s more like John Webster in his rankest mood, when storytelling and poetry is flushed away, and all that’s left is stratagems, sex and murder. Worse, crudely shot and performed vid’s war “action” would be funny if the project didn’t take itself so seriously. Pic will hold court at only the neediest of fests.

Miffed at what he perceives as the weakness of the Windsors and intent on turning England into a superpower to rival the Yanks, Prince Henry of the Stuart line (MacCannell) blithely uses his massive inheritance to build an army that invades the U.K. from his Gallic exile base. As in Shakespeare’s histories and Webster’s revenge dramas, much complicated intrigue ensues — a great deal of it rendered incomprehensible by sloppy acting and production glitches. The script makes the critical error of assuming that rhyming iambic pentameter is enough, neglecting the form’s verbal music.

Henry X

Production

A Mears-Bosko Prods. presentation in association with Golden Shadow Pictures. Produced by Marc Lempert. Co-producers, Phyllis Elliott, Jon Jacobs, Jason Francis MacCannell, Juliet MacCannell. Directed by Marc Lempert, Dan MacCannell. Screenplay, MacCannell.

Crew

Camera (color, video), Lempert; editor, Lempert; production designer, Bosko, Mears; set designer, Bosko; costume designer, Bosko. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., April 25, 2003. (In Method Festival.) Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Dan MacCannell, Kathryn Stockwood, Jon Jacobs, Billy Octane Asher, Dawn Westlake, Dechen Thurman, Richard Berman, Travis Pike, Terrance Camilleri, Charlotte Lewis, Alex Reardon.
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