The director is of course famous for his high-concept approach, and although this isn't too much in evidence as he's working within the confines of a series, there are little glimpses still apparent. Goold has said that, of an original concept to base the portrayal of Richard on Michael Jackson, only the pet monkey remains in the final film. I actually think a bit more than that has made it on screen. Ben Whishaw's Richard is a high-pitched, detached, otherworldly figure of ambiguous sexuality: He has, of course, a queen (Clémence "doesn't know which hole you're supposed to put the Haribo in" Poésy) who when he eventually sees he seems genuinely attached to; but for the most part he's convinced to stay away from her by a coterie of pretty boys he fawns over. There's also something about the messianic imagery he piles onto himself with a trowel once he realises he's on the ropes, that brings to mind Jackson's infamous Brits performance. (The St Sebastian imagery that Goold lays on him is another nod towards his sexuality, although in the circumstances I could have done without it as it gets confused with the Christ imagery and all comes off a bit messy.)
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.