Judy and Punch is a strange film, which acts as a kind of origin story to the classic puppet show. Following a husband and wife puppeteer duo who have fallen on hard times thanks to Punch’s drinking habits. After a disastrous day on the drink Punch leaves Judy beaten half to death. That begins our darkly comic revenge drama.
The tone of the film is incredibly strange. There are moments that you would never have thought to see played for comedy in a film be incredibly darkly funny. At other times the film has some far more serious moments around the persecution of people because of their differences and the empowerment of women. These wildly different tones do feel jumbled and don’t really coalesce together, but honestly the film was enjoyable enough to overcome that.
The film features a lot of references to the classic puppet show, some more obvious in their involvement in the plot, and others a little more subtlety (although never hugely). It might be an idea to remind to remind yourself of all the tropes and characters from that show so that all the symbolism and references in the film don’t go over your head as they did mine until the end credits, where some clips of the puppet show are played.
Whilst Judy and Punch is far from a perfect film, there’s plenty of things you can pick at with it. I do have to say that it’s one I enjoyed a lot, and would definitely recommend on that basis.