Thursday, July 19, 2018


The world knows exactly one thing about Lizzie Borden: She hacked her parents with an ax. A lot. Not quite the 40 whacks each of the children’s nursery rhyme, but enough to slice her father’s face into mush, a crime so grisly, newspapers in 1892 wrote it could only have been committed by “somebody insane or a sane person whose heart is as black with hatred as hell itself.” Director Craig William Macneill’s “Lizzie” has another theory. The director re-imagines the murderess (ChloĆ« Sevigny) as a powerless victim who literally slays the patriarchy. It’s a simple story made to rouse modern hearts, and the performances and cinematography are so good, the film nearly pulls off the trick. But after a solid hour of Hammer-esque tension, Macneill can’t resist bludgeoning us with an extended replay of the attack, which, ironically, turns out to be the dullest sequence in Borden’s miserable tale.


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