27 June 2013

Much Ado about Nothing 2013

Much Ado about Nothing 2013
  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Based on the play by William Shakespeare
  • Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Spencer Treat Clark, Riki Lindhome, Ashley Johnson, Emma Bates
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Amy Acker – Catch Me If You Can
    • Reed Diamond – Good Night and Good Luck, Spiderman 2, Homicide Life on the Streets,
    • Clark Gregg – Thor, In Good Company, The Human Stain, State and Main, The Usual Suspects
    • Fran Kranz – Matchstick Men, Donnie Darko
    • Spencer Treat Clark – Mystic River, Gladiator
    • Riki Lindhome – The Big Bang Theory, Changeling, Million Dollar Baby
    • Ashley Johnson – The Help, Roswell, Anywhere but Here
  • Why seen: Shakespeare, Barbican, London
  • Seen: June 15, 2013 with Hal at the Barbican in London


Seeing a new Shakespeare movie the day after its official UK release, in the Barbican Cinema 2, in a rain-drenched London – can movie blogging get any better?
Well, actually a little, yes.  You see, after walking back to our side of the Thames in the now sunny London I’m handwriting this review with a pen bearing the text “To Be or Not to Be” bought yesterday at the Globe Shop. That’s cool, isn’t it?
I had seen on the IMDb that the movie was coming. It was just luck that it was now. And we’re here.
I love the movie. It’s a straightforward adaption of Shakespeare. The play is moved to today’s America in some California-type wealthy setting – a big sprawling house with lots of stairs and a swimming pool.  The cast are all naturals. Shakespeare flows out of their mouths as if that’s how they and we talk all the time.
The quirkiness is brilliant. All the macho talk takes place in small girly bedrooms with cute stuffed animals and frilly pillows.  Claudio in snorkel and swimming goggles is informed by Don John and his two cohorts in the pool – four bodiless heads bobbing in the water – of Don Pedro’s supposed betrayal with Hero.  The two scenes where Beatrice and Benedick hear their friends talking about their love for one another are hilarious. Beatrice scrambling on her hands and knees to hide under a kitchen counter is priceless.
The drama and pain are believable and gripping. The photography is beautiful. Making a black and white film in the second decade of the 21st century is a radical move. It works a treat.  Two striking scenes: the acrobats swooping around high above the party (from their perspective) and the memorial procession for Hero.
Comparisons to Branagh’s version are inevitable. Branagh and Thompson can never be equaled and the lavish sumptuousness and energy of the 1993 production is one of a kind. But this 2013 version certainly holds its own in its black and white opulence of down home (wealthy style) lavishness, after-party kitchen chaos and all.
In a long line of Shakespeare movies it’s right there at the top.



5 * of 5

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