So I just watched A Royal Affair. An utterly gorgeous movie on many levels, but this account is not for eloquent movie reviews. This account is for me to freely discuss my fetish for executions.
The movie is about the affair between the Royal Physician Struensee and the Queen, behind the (insane) King's back. Politics, a coup, and duplicity lead to the Queen being banished and Struensee being beheaded. Publicly.
I think you can all see where this is going.
Struensee is played by Mads Mikkelsen, who has recently come to my attention by playing Hannibal Lecter on the new NBC drama. I have a bizarre attraction to him. I'm still not entirely sure if it's attraction to his acting talents or a kind of fearful excitement over his portrayal of Hannibal or me wanting to do lots and lots of kinky things with him. A combination of all of them, I think. He's so scary and cultured and charming and intense and ... guh.
So in A Royal Affair, Struensee is led to believe he'll be pardoned at the last minute by the King. He realizes as the carriage stops at the foot of the scaffold that this is not the case (the King has been lied to, in the movie at least, historically things are less clear) and he waits in the carriage while the other man being executed alongside him is dragged out and beheaded. You see Struensee panic, trying to come to grips with the fact that he is about to die and there's nothing he can do. Then he gets led out, and it's so sad and awful and intense and you don't want him to die, he's tried so hard with so many political reforms ... and I'm upset naturally ... and then he starts climbing the steps. He sees the blood from his friend's execution. He SLIPS in the blood and gets his sleeve covered in it. And he gets dragged to the block and held down and his whole face crumples and he starts to CRY.
*tugs at collar* I ... um ...
See my emotions are a tad confusing here. One the one hand, this was a real event and I have no interest in fetishizing the deaths of real people. On the other hand, this is a dramatic reenactment in a movie, starring a favorite actor of mine, hence I am incredibly excited by the visuals presented to me.
Also, there's another layer here beyond my fetish for executions, and delight at one featuring 1) a man and 2) one of my favorite actors.
He breaks down. He's scared. He's sad. He's crying and frustrated and terrified. You don't get that in American movies. (I'm American, btw, and this film is Danish.) The hero/anti-hero/strong male lead never breaks down when facing death, he's always strong and stuff. He might be a little nervous but never to this extent. You just don't see male leads crying like this, not in American movies.
So that was ... not exactly exciting to me but a rarity, something I very much appreciated on more of a film-analysis level rather than a "oh my god execution unf this is so sexy" level.
Just wanted to share. Overall a gorgeous and fantastic movie and I highly recommend it to those of you into costume dramas, Mads Mikkelsen, that point in history, or executions.