Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
San Francisco Chronicle
[Branagh] shows an understanding of the medium worthy of a veteran, and an intuitive grasp of how to make Henry V not only comprehensible, but compelling for contemporary audiences. [13 Dec 1989]
Straightforward, energetic, updated Bard. 28-year-old star-director-adapter Kenneth Branagh's spellbinding version of Shakespeare's Henry isn't superior to Olivier's 1944 version - it's different, and complementary to it.
What works best in the film is the over-all vision. Branagh is able to see himself as a king, and so we can see him as one.
USA Today
Henry V emerges a first-class epic film, so entertaining that it needs no apologies for being based on a 400-year-old play. [10 Nov 1989]
Boston Globe
One of the things that make [Branagh's] Henry V so thrilling is his audacity in trying to turn it into an antiwar play - a view that would have astounded Shakespeare. Astonishingly, he pretty much brings it off, emerging with steadily growing power as the young king who isn't afraid to bloody his hands. [15 Dec 1989]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Clever and confident use of limited resources in an unfamiliar medium. Kenneth Branagh has made the right choice nine out of 10 times, and the tenth is easily forgiven because of the youthful ardor of that bright face and that bright talent. [10 Nov 1989]
Wall Street Journal
As director, Mr. Branagh and his cameraman have chosen to shoot his film tight and drab, a style that allows the actors to speak the poetry without affect. Nothing's prettified. [09 Nov 1989]
Branagh's Henry V must, however, be counted a success - it might never be as famous as Olivier's, but it should carry considerable clout for years to come.
Chicago Tribune
There is a great deal of value in Branagh's version, not least in his own lead performance as a soft, indefinite Henry who defines himself over the course of the play. [15 Dec 1989]
Portland Oregonian
Branagh's Henry is inevitably darker and more violent than Olivier's, but also even more youthful and energetic at times. He is generally far more direct, with fewer sly implications. [17 Dec 1989]

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