This film is an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "Titus Andronicus." Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family. Who says revenge is sweet?
War begets revenge. Victorious general, Titus Andronicus, returns to Rome with hostages: Tamora queen of the Goths and her sons. He orders the eldest hewn to appease the Roman dead. He declines the proffered emperor's crown, nominating Saturninus, the last ruler's venal elder son. Saturninus, to spite his brother Bassianus, demands the hand of Lavinia, Titus's daughter. When Bassianus, Lavinia, and Titus's sons flee in protest, Titus stands against them and slays one of his own. Saturninus marries the honey-tongued Tamora, who vows vengeance against Titus. The ensuing maelstrom serves up tongues, hands, rape, adultery, racism, and Goth-meat pie. There's irony in which two sons survive. Written by
Possibly the most faithfully recreated Shakespeare play ever
Taken from the Shakespeare play 'Titus Andronicus', A very dark humored and brutal work originally, Julie Taymor isolates and drives upon the very force that brought William Shakespeare to his immortal success: Shock your audience.
A Roman General(Titus) after loosing many of his sons as soldiers in battle returns to a war-hungry Rome days after the death of Julius Ceasar. You're introduced to the story as the two sons of the Emperor petition to succeed their Father. Superficially this story is an all-out-tragedy. Underneath, however, it's a causticly ironic tale to see a man forge the tools of his own suffering through his own arrogant and selfish misdoings, then to eventually find shame and humility.
This movie is so packed with metaphor most viewers find it intimidating. It's an amazingly seamless telling of a story using time-specific visual references to outline the characters and events. i.e. the nazi-esque motorcade, biker costumes appear similar to the Italian fascist movement, evident paranoia. While the rival motorcade appears symbolic of John Kennedy and symbiotic trust.
The costume design is fabulous, obvious 1960's Glam/GlamRock design influences carefully illustrate the vanity and narcissism of Roman culture at the time using flashy wool-lined synthetics. I openly covet the cape Titus wears. Shakespeare took particular pleasure mocking a society with conveniently and easily deniable Gods, such that the Gods themselves treat their fates as tragic playthings.
And I digress... my main point is Shakespeare built his fame on being what has always been considered taboo and edgy: sex, violence, death and profanity. Julie Taymor having not missed a beat with the visuals, which are terrible and powerful at times, only seek to punctuate tragedy, much unlike its 1999 counterpart 'Titus Andronicus' which focused more on hate and revenge making for very unreasonable 1 dimensional characters.
My advice: Watch this movie more than once. Every time I do I glean more from it. Tony Hopkins and Alan Cumming both give some of the best performances of their careers, Moreover one of the best directed films ever IMHO.
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