*** (out of 4)
As its title suggests, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo is a film about the Peterloo Massacre. For those who aren’t familiar: after the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, England fell on financial hard times. Angered by the socioeconomic inequality that industrialization had generated, some 80,000 working-class people gathered for a political rally at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester on August 16, 1819. Fearing a violent uprising, authorities ordered soldiers to forcibly disperse the crowd. In the ensuing chaos, 18 people were killed and hundreds more injured, and because of this, the overall event is now generally acknowledged as a “turning point” in modern English history.