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Review: “JUDY & PUNCH” is a pertinent period piece

Friday, June 5, 2020 | Uncategorized

By Breanna Whipple

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Benedict Hardie
Written and Directed by Mirrah Foulkes
A71 Entertainment

Period pieces are arguably one of the most difficult things to conquer in the world of cinema; to miss a single detail in costuming and sets would result in an imperfect atmosphere. Facing this challenge with aplomb, writer/director Mirrah Foulkes packs a punch in her debut full-length feature “JUDY & PUNCH,” available now on VOD.

“JUDY & PUNCH” follows the eponymous married couple (played by Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman, respectively) as they attempt to ignite a prosperous puppeteering career with a violently amusing marionette show in 17th Century England. Alas, Punch’s troubles with both alcoholism and anger management bring about a devastating succession of events, resulting in accidental murder. In an attempt to deflect blame and accountability, Punch decides to frame his housekeeper and her husband – both of whom are instantly persecuted by the townspeople. Little does Punch know, a real band of heretics lurk nearby, and Judy happens to be their most recent acquisition.

Highly stylized and visually appealing, “JUDY & PUNCH” boasts important messages about domestic violence and the dangers of mob mentality. Between the presence of street fighting for sport and Punch’s insistence that violence is the main draw for their show, the film provides a fascinating, albeit unexpected study of our compulsion to consume violent content; a touchy subject for horror fans but one we must all confront. Overall, it’s an impactful tale set in a frightening time in medieval history, but one whose themes still resonate strongly today.