Another rendition of a late 19th Century Fall River, Massachusetts legend (others have included Christina Ricci and Elizabeth Montgomery in the starring role) comes by way of Craig William Macneill where an heiress was tried and later acquitted of murdering her father Andrew Borden and stepmother Abby (with many reminded of the infamous rhyme of the number of ‘whacks’ though less than half are depicted here). One that might resonate more in this age of outcasts and misconduct that have spurred on movements, as well as controversy.
Lizzie stars Springfield, MA native Chloe Sevigny (Lean on Pete, Love & Friendship and also a producer here) and the more well-known younger often tabloid fodder actress Kristen Stewart (very in low-budget efforts like Still Alice, Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper) who are a part of the speculation of the arcane context leading to the heinous activity with little emotional relief.
The forbidding ambience is evident in a well-accoutered period piece where qualities like chilly arrogance and observant acquiescence come into play. Naysayers may find a tendency on view to water down the ethical ambiguity as the construct includes Stewart’s Irish domestic servant Bridget Sullivan as an intimate ally of Sevigny’s sheltered and stifled Lizzie. Probably due in part to the egregious exploits of affluent, domineering Andrew (Jamey Sheridan of Sully and Spotlight) who feels more comfortable with equally lubricious brother John Morse (Denis O’Hare of Novitiate and The Dallas Buyers Club) eventually enjoying his sizable estate than Lizzie or her sister (Kim Dickens of Gone Girl, The Blind Side).
A shrewd steeliness is exhibited by Sevigny from an oppressive force as Stewart complements her well on an erotic, sanguine path to bliss, undemanding in its final explicit execution with a creepy, creaky score finally going silent. In this Lizzie the very deliberate methodology (in both senses of the word) alleviates a more stirring, trenchant psychological thriller in which its mystery, nevertheless, persists.