Judy & Punch

BBFC RatingJudy & Punch

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Certificate15
Year2019
GenreComedy, Crime, Drama
DirectorMirrah Foulkes
LanguageEnglish
CountryAustralia
Running Time1HR 46MINS
SeasonMain Programme

Mirrah Foulkes's astonishing, indefinable feature debut reimagines the Punch and Judy puppet show as a blackly comic feminist revenge tale.

 

It's the mid-17th century in the anarchic town Seaside (which is nowhere near the sea), and The Enlightenment feels very far away indeed. Seaside has spiralled into violence, mob rule and God-fearing hysteria. Amongst the chaos, one glimmer of artistry remains: Punch and Judy's puppet theatre. Once a master puppeteer, the charismatic Punch (Damon Herriman) has fallen too much under the sway of whiskey, but his wife Judy (Mia Wasikowska) is a puppeteering genius and ensures that their shows are a hit with the baying crowds. When a Punch bender goes disastrously and violently wrong, Judy decides to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged her and, as she discovers, many others. 

With a highly accomplished sense of style and directorial confidence that belies her newness to the craft, Foulkes creates a vivid, darkly comic fable – part revenge story, part fantasy epic. Damon Herriman (Justified, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) makes a brilliant Punch – dangerously egomaniacal, and yet somehow still pitiable. And at the heart of this film about the emergence of a reluctant heroine, Wasikowska is a wonderful Judy, who belatedly finds out just how powerful she is. Judy & Punch is rousing, inventive and so much fun.