Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ lavish period piece that took viewers back to 18th century England and the latter days of an ill Queen Anne’s reign makes its debut on the Blu-ray format in The Favourite (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, rated R, 119 minutes, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, $34.99).
Flirting with historical accuracy while reveling in the sardonic, the story focuses on a smitten Queen Anne (Olivia Colman in an Academy Award-winning performance) empowering her primary adviser Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), to help run the country.
When Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), appears, a former aristocrat looking to reclaim her place in society, a twisted love triangle plays out as a treacherous rivalry develops between Sarah and Abigail for the queen’s affections.
The film is an entertaining, bawdy kind of fun throughout and akin to Richard Lester’s “The Three Musketeers.”
Suffice it to report, the screen-filling, high-definition presentation delivers a colorful look at the opulent court of Anne, exposing the vulgarity of wealth through extravagant costuming and ornate decorations, hair and make-up designs.
The visual clarity is equally keen on showcasing cinematographer Robbie Ryan’s stylistic excess. Specifically, he had a propensity to shoot often through wide-angle and fish-eye lenses that add to the weirdness of the period.
Equally prevalent to the visual style were choices to toss in ashen white humans lumbering down dark corridors, screams from an insane queen into the night, organ music, and various humans dealing with bouts of burned flesh and seeping gout.
It will sometimes make viewers think they are watching a horror film. That is, until the duck race begins.
Best extras: Viewers get a 22-minute overview of the production with most cast and crew commenting on the unusual film’s creation, including words from Mr. Lanthimos and Mr. Ryan while the actors mostly gush about their unpredictable experiences with the director and his shooting style.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.