The Devil’s Whore aka The Devil’s Mistress (2008)

What troubled times these were. 17th century England. Thomas Rainsborough. Oliver Cromwell. The English Civil War. The Levellers. The execution of Charles I. Put all this together and use as a central figure a beautiful young woman, married three times, said to have seen the devil, accused of being a whore and surviving her execution and you have the ingredients of a very entertaining mini-series.

The Devil’s Whore or (called The Devil’s Mistress in the US) tells the story of the fictitious Angelica Fanshawe. Related to King Charles I we see her married to one of his relatives who ends up being executed. The English Civil War is seen through her eyes and its troubled history told in a very dramatic way. It makes you want to brush up your history immediately. As the addition of this fictitious noble woman tells us, the filmmakers have taken some considerable liberties, still they mange to convey how chaotic these times were. Cromwell was at the head of the Parliament, together with Thomas Rainsborough, the head of the so-called Levellers. These two men occupy two extreme positions. One wants to gain power over the parliament and have the King listen to them, while the other, as the name of the movement says, want’s all men to be the same. No more aristocracy and hierarchy. The land should be divided among everyone. As much as they are friends in the beginning, they clash and when Rainsborough is killed, it seems likely that Cromwell is responsible.

After the beheading of Charles I Cromwell is the most powerful man in England. He sends the army to Ireland and fights on many different fronts. But the war doesn’t bring peace to the country. Cromwell finally realizes that England sn’t ready yet. If he wants to restore peace there must be a new king.

I love this mini-series and have already watched it twice. Admittedly I didn’t only like it for the historical and political background but because I enjoyed Angelica Fanshawe’s story that is interwoven with the facts. In the beginning of the movie, when she is only a little girl, she sees the devil in a tree. He seems to mock her. But at the same time he transforms her into a woman, far more gutsy than women were at this time. She chooses her husbands, she speaks freely, she disguises as a man when needed and fights like a man as well.

The Devil’s Whore is an entertaining tale and a guilty pleasure set during the English Civil War, starring actors that have become famous with other movies and series. Dominic West (The Wire) plays Oliver Cromwell and Michael Fassbender (300, Inglourious Basterds, Shame, Fish Tank) is Thomas Rainsborough, John Simm (Life on Mars) is Edward Sexby and Angelica Fansahwe is played by Andrea Riseborough.

The only English trailer I found has Portuguese subtitles but that shouldn’t matter too much.

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15 thoughts on “The Devil’s Whore aka The Devil’s Mistress (2008)

  1. Guy Savage says:

    I have this but haven’t watched it yet. This is one of my favourite periods of history.

    • I had one problem, I first watched it on TV where it was shown in 4 episodes of 60 minutes and the DVD is cut to 180min length. That’s a bit sad. Hopefully, if you haven’t watched it before, you won’t care.
      It’s a facsinating period.

  2. warmoviebuff says:

    Sounds cool. I like that period and the actors are intriguing. Hope it’s better than the movie “Cromwell”. Doubt it’s on Net Flix, however. How does Cromwell come off? He is a polarizing figure.

  3. tuulenhaiven says:

    Such an interesting historical period – this looks very intriguing, especially cast-wise. How was Michael Fassbender in it? He seems to be overall a pretty good actor.

    • I never really liked him before I saw him in this one but now I’m officially a fan.
      The period is fascinating. England was such a mess… I was not very familiar with Cromwell before but he certainly was a complex guy.

  4. TBM says:

    I’ll have to check this one out!

  5. Lauren says:

    Which version is currently on Netflix watch instantly? I found it but haven’t dedicated the time to watch it yet.

    • I’m sorry, I cannot answer this, I have no access to Netflix (I live in a non English speaking part of Europe).
      In any case I would go for the longer one. That was the one that was aired on TV but the DVD version is shorter. I’m not sure which one Netflix would have.

  6. I bought the dvd recently, and now I am looking forward to watching it.As you say, that period of English history is very chaotic, so it will be interesting to learn more. As Kevin said, it is probably better than the movie Cromwell.

    • It’s certainly more entertaining but they take huge liberties with history. I didn’t mind but you might.
      I hope you got the long version. I saw it on TV first and then re-watched it on DVD and parts were missing.
      I hope you like it despite the liberties they took.

  7. Maj says:

    Does anyone know what exactly they cut in the 2-part version? it’s a full hour shorter than the TV version & it’s kind of bugging me. :-/

    • I can’t really tell you. I watched the long version on TV, then I bought the DVD and it just felt as if parts were missing. I check and saw that it was indeed much shorter. I liked it less. Some transitions, from an emotional point of view, were not so smooth. It’s also possible they cut parts of Cromwell’s Ireland campaing.

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