Mary Queen of Scots: the story of the eponymous character in Josie Rourke’s historical drama is a potent one, one that also allows for a multitude of contemporary subtext to be inserted. The plot is filled with political intrigue, where everything (from gender, marriage, family to religion) can be used as a tool for power grab schemes. Nevertheless, the film feels, for the most part, very traditional and riskless. Acting is fine, but not too particularly memorable: Saoirse Ronan is a good choice for the main role, as she has the youth, stern looks and projects the proper strength; Margot Robbie is given a somewhat thankless role, as it gets too close to caricature. Of the many liberties the film takes, one is welcome: the casting is color-blind in the supporting roles. Alexandra Byrne’s costumes are probably the film’s strongest suit below-the-line, lush and properly varied. The makeup work does its job well. Cinematographer John Mathieson captures well the Scottish dramatic landscape.