DVD REVIEW: LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK AN AXE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NICK GOMEZ / SCREENPLAY: STEPHEN KAY / STARRING: CHRISTINA RICCI. GREGG HENRY, CLEA DUVALL / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 18TH
Christina Ricci’s acting career is made up of hits and misses. Lizzie Borden Took an Axe – a TV movie telling the true-life story of the infamous Lizzie, who was tried and acquitted of her parents’ murders in 1892 – is one of the misses.
Helmed by veteran TV director Nick Gomez and penned by Stephen (Bogeyman) Kay, it plays like a dramatization on a crime special, padded out to 83 minutes, with clear breaks for adverts. Among a decent supporting cast, Stephen McHattie does a fair job of drawling through the role of Lizzie’s unfortunate father and Clea DuVall isn’t half bad either, but Helix’s Billy Campbell blandly phones in a performance as Lizzie’s lawyer.
The music (provided by prolific composer Tree Adams) is pretty good, but inappropriate for the period setting, and while Tarantino uses modern music in an Old West or WW2 setting, he has enough arrogance to pull it off.
The sets and costume design are pretty solid and go some way towards dressing up a lacklustre script. The flashbacks, on the other hand, get very tedious and repetitive, and serve only as padding.
Lizzie Borden Took an Axe tries hard but somehow comes off as unconvincing. For a period study of an infamous American figure, stick to Andrew Dominik’s masterful The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.