Mike Leigh’s Peterloo is a loquacious counterpart to Caryl Churchill’s superior Light Shining in Buckinghamshire:
A laboriously-endless, snails-paced series of discursive episodes chronicling the ensemblist genesis of a reform movement through its personal and sociopolitical machinations, scaling up and down the societal power hierarchies and across the ideological spectrum, from the guerrilla streets to the Parliamentary halls. The movie paints a macro-canvass of history through micro moments involving forgotten figures relegated to the dustbins of archives (the painting scene herein suggests this idea); macro-machinations through micro-mechanics.
More than just a textbook lesson, Leigh’s engaging in a sort of corrective to the tendency of those at the top — in order to preserve their status quo — to paint any dissension with the same brush of opposition, failing to note — due to either willful ignorance or deliberate demonization — the vast discrepancies amongst individuals fighting for the collective.
And yet, Peterloo‘s still much ado about nothing too new.
Stray Take: A hearty thespian-upon-the-screen shoutout for RORY FUCKING KINNEAR!!!