Dir. Mike Leigh, UK, 2018, 154 Min
‘Peterloo’ is a true story which details a public protest march which took place in St. Peter’s Field, Manchester on the 16th of August in 1819 that became infamous after an attack by a regiment of the 15th Hussars. At the end of the day, 15 people lay dead and anywhere between 400 and 700 hundred people were injured in the clash. The marchers up to 80,000 strong were calling for a reform of parliament that would boost representation in an area that was suffering under an ongoing employment crisis. Leigh’s film offers a diffuse focus – looking at a variety of characters involved: Henry Hunt (Rory Kinnear), the orator who spoke on the day; Maxine Peake as a mother trying to hold her family together in the face of extreme poverty and Joseph, a traumatized young man who, four years earlier, after the battle of Waterloo, made his way home to the north of England, still wearing his army red coat, only to find hardship.
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