Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall tells the story of Henry VII's tumultuous decision to divorce his first wife, and break off from the Catholic church in order to marry the ambitious Anne Boleyn. This story has been told several times before, but this offers a new approach by placing in the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, who was often portrayed as an amoral schemer in the past iterations. An interesting approach to be sure as it breaks the events down to the nearest extremes in terms of political maneuvers given that our lead, played to absolute perfection by Mark Rylance, is a pragmatic political soldier for the King. Now the weakest elements of the show probably is in the somewhat reactionary writing basically as a Man For All Seasons. Where that made Thomas More to be the saint and Cromwell to be the villain, this series reverses the order in basically the same way. That being it plays up the heroes better historical qualities while hiding his shortcomings, while focusing squarely on the villains less savory qualities. I'd say this is the series' greatest weakness, in that More almost comes off as a straw man at times, not the mention it does force one scene not to make a great deal of sense in order to keep Cromwell as a non-torturer, Anne Boleyn's musician's confession comes from being locked in a room for a night, eh that's a bit of a stretch. However past that it's a terrific show in that it makes the story compelling through its focus on the power plays, all through the guide of a quiet yet extremely assured individual. The production is great to look at naturally as well, and very well acted almost across the board. It ends up being a rather fascinating view into the period through its unique perspective, and I certainly hope the story continues through into the rest of Cromwell's story.

1 comment:

Calvin Law said...

I can't wait till the next season.