Judy & Punch
ALT | Altered States
Judy (Mia Wasikowska) may be a more skilful puppeteer than Punch (Damon Herriman), but it’s her loutish husband who earns the accolades for their balletic marionette-on-marionette violence. Such is the state of patriarchal affairs in their lawless, landlocked town of Seaside. And while Judy demonstrates a remarkably high tolerance for indignity, we learn what she can’t abide when Punch’s rampant alcoholism leads to an utterly unforgivable (albeit brilliantly staged) accident.
Writer-director Mirrah Foulkes harnesses her leads’ strengths, with Herriman proving a fount of dimwitted hilarity, much as he was in Justified, while Wasikowska demonstrating that she hasn’t lost any of the intimidating bearing she’s previously flaunted in Stoker and Only Lovers Left Alive. As Judy is pushed well past her breaking point and forced to reinvent herself, Mirrah Foulkes’ fiercely feminist feature becomes a dizzying cocktail of satire and slapstick that both skewers chauvinism and administers some long-overdue blunt-force retribution.
"A Grand Guignol romp through a society gripped by a fever of superstitions… There’s a savage, sometimes surreal wit to this anarchic tale of violence and revenge… [It’s] a twisted fairytale with a maliciously grim heart…" - Wendy Ide, Screen