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|Index||133 matching reviews (286 reviews in total)|
I love films which are able to stare at the darkest side of humanity and
even get a chuckle or two out of what is presented (Clockwork Orange for
example). Julie Taymor (I can only hope she gets more chances to do this
kind of thing) was not afraid to take big risks. For me the risks all paid
It is easy to see why some say this is Shakespeare's "weakest" play (some insisting he never even wrote it). The subject matter, human cruelty and the urge to revenge are not easy to acknowledge traits we like to speak about in "polite" society. The terms "morality play," or "good vs. evil" (who was good in this story?) don't make sense to me in relation to this film.
The Bard's poetry was powerful and accessible. I was engrossed from beginning to end by the visuals, the acting (Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange are magnificent as are others), and the visceral nature of the emotions presented. I believe the film is meant to be timeless and does not jump between Ancient Rome and Italy of Mussolini or any other modern setting. The "modern" young boy is a touch of genius. Doesn't anyone remember being or seeing children playing at war? Cruelty does have a human face. In the end the two youths are our only "Hope."
We have just entered a new century, a new millennium. The last century witnessed humanity's darkest hours. It continues even now. Despite our "progress" we show no capacity to control our need to destroy. Oh please, Mr. Shakespeare, Ms. Taymor, don't make me look at such bad things. Let's pretend, as Speilberg and his ilk would have us believe, there really is something redeeming underneath all of the inhumanity to which we've become so accustomed.
This movie is about the opening scene in relationship to the closing scene,
where the two hour and 40 minutes in between are a lesson. The story seems
to be a morality lesson for a totally goofed up kid who lives and breathes
childish, popular violence.
Yes, the movie was beautifully photographed. Yes, it was often beautifully choreographed. Yes, it was avant garde in jumping around from one era to another. Yes, the acting was competent. But these are all merely tools of this morality movie.
Titus, the Shakespearean play, by itself, probably couldn't be related to by today's people. However, add a kid from our century, obviously drenched in cereal box war toys, TV cartoon violence, prime-time Cops shows, Terminator movie violence, and endless news coverage of violence, violence, violence. Suddenly we have, by connecting the kid to a Shakespearean play, a morality play that can be related to by our 21st century kids. At the end, the kid has obviously learned a lesson, walking away from the violence while displaying caring for another.
Striking, in that opening scene, was the absolutely mindless violence of the kid playing with his toys. Extreme. Movie goers must have universally concluded that this 21st century kid had lost all of his marbles.
Then we movie goers, questioning the opening scene, are taken back with that kid to historical eras in which violence was considered a respectable, understandable, justifiable, everyday way of life. What kind of violence? War. Honoring war heros. Religious-ceremony violence to assuage the Gods for the killing of "our boys, the war heros." Then Justice, eye for an eye revenge. Power-seeking. Feudal intrigue. Family feuds. Fascism, Nazism. Most of all, Revenge! Justified, always justified, revenge--rolling on and on like the plague revenge is. Oh, how we love, in America, justified eye-for-an-eye revenge.
A man justifying stabbing a mid-wife, to forever silence her, to protect HIS son.
Endless Justified violence is one of the great everyday themes of modern-day man. And so the writers, actors, producer, and director of Titus decided to make a movie about it.
That insanely violent kid, shown murdering toy after toy in the opening, is the object of a morality lesson. He is shown Real Violence. He learns that his insane breakfast-table rampage with toys is truly "kid stuff" compared to historical violence. He learns how insane Real Civilization is. Ultimately, he quietly rejects violence and walks away from it in an act of love towards another human being. The young kid finally seems to be the only "adult" in the whole movie.
This is a movie that should be seen by kids. Unfortunately, it probably cannot legally be shown to kids because of a few X-rated fornication murals on walls during Roman orgy scenes. Too bad. Because if ever there were a Scared Straight movie for today's violent, numbskull kids, this is it.
The movie is well done. Because it's restricted to Shakespearean dialogue that's tough to say as well as hear, the acting could only be said to be very competent. But the morality message was clear. The message against violence is right on target for our American society that is heaped in "justified" violence.
I wish this movie could be shown UNCUT on national TV during prime time. It might do our society some good, in place of, for one night, of all our horrible television shows of our putrid 21st Century entertainment era. Most of today's entertainment features violence and humiliation in a style resembling arena-gladiator shows of the past, where we cheer the death, injury and humiliation of our fellow human beings that we home viewers (and kids) watch on television.
Bravo, to all involved in this movie. It was brave of them to attempt a modern-day morality movie. They're way ahead of their audience of today. Hopefully, this movie will catch on and the message will be understood.
2 hours and 45 minutes has never passed so quickly! This has to be one of the best films I have EVER seen. True to Shakespeare's original words, it was completely understandable and you will forget all about the language being from a different time. It is absolutely flawless in all aspects. Incredible cinematography. Compelling juxtaposition of eras. Startling visuals and an excellent musical score. Luxurious sets and glorious colors. Top-notch acting and the most intriguing, wonderfully told, enrapturing story. There aren't enough superlatives for Jessica Lange, Alan Cummings, Anthony Hopkins and Harry J. Lennix who are so perfectly marvelous in their roles. Warning for those who have a weak stomach as there are several moments of blood, gore and human debauchery. Others will revel in the gloriously filmed scenes of revenge, lust, and pure unmitigated evil.
This rendition of Titus is the first I have seen and without any doubt is the best adaptation of any of play I have seen. Although Titus is one of the more obscure stories, this movie will developing a loyal following. The movie stays very faithful to the text while leaving room for creative visual twists. Titus not only has brilliant direction but also unsurpassed sets and costumes. Rush to the movies to find this movie.
This is the film that made Sir Anthony claim he would never make another film again. After seeing it, you'll beg him to keep working (he's since changed his mind, thankfully). But its not just his work that makes this film work, its everybody's - direction, cinematography, costumes, art direction, make-up... you name it. This version of Shakespeare's bloodiest play is as close to perfect as one could imagine. I will grant that my experience with the play was previously limited to enumerations of the physical manglings of the characters within it, but those alone made me wonder how the story could fitted into the evening with so many choppings and bleedings and raping. Yet, Titus himself comes off as being one of the most noble and suffering of the Bard's heros, as hero he is. Titus Andronicus has to deal with revenge upon him from the Gothic Warrior Queen, who is embittered by the death of her first born son by Titus' order. Meanwhile, there is a political struggle for the position of Caesar, with two brothers battling it out with the Senate. Titus chooses one, therebye beginning the destruction of his world, at least in one way. The brothers are battling for the control of much, and at one point this includes the hand of a girl. This ends in tears, brought about by the sudden involvement of the remaining Gothic sons (their mother is now favoured at court, so they are as well). To be honest, any more detail is going to ruin it, but suffice it to say that Titus is put through so much that you wonder if Old Bill S. modelled the guy on Job of the Bible. Everybody seems to be out to get him in some way or other, even if it's just to mock him or make him go insane. The acting in this is inspired. The villians (and there are no shortage of them) are deliciously evil, with the possible exception of Saturnia who is directed to run around and yell a lot (this may be true to the character's text, but for Heaven's sake, it gets boring after awhile, Ms. Taymore!). The sets are both sensual and evocative of a modern interpretation of ancient Rome - as if you combined Pre-Depression Berlin, Modern-day Elegance, and Sci-fi Future brushed metal. The make-up for the villians is suitably worn, as though it's been slept in after an all-night orgy. For the rest, the make-up is typically invisible. The only problem I have with it is the occasional intrusive use of multi-media visions, a la Peter Greenaway. While they're neat and evocative, somehow they don't fit the rest of the whole. It would have been better to either do something tamer (more traditional "vision" stuff with a bit of fog) and let the viewer decide of it was real or a dream. All in all, this is a GREAT film, even with the few problems. You must have a strong stomach, as this is not a film that pulls its punches in the visuals department (there's a lot of blood everywhere), and its shock value is pretty high at times, but if you don't have a problem with any of that; run, do not walk, to your local theatre.
Wow! For a film with a two hour and forty minute run time it went fast. I loved it, but like a few other films I've seen lately I will be very selective in who I recommend to see it. Titus Andronicus is a play that follows the Roman theater tradition of violence and excess. Titus is a film that takes these qualities to an extreme while retaining visual beauty. Normally I am one who has difficulty with the dialogue of a Shakespeare play, Titus presented no such problem to me. The acting was superb. Every character took a form that was convincing yet over the top. The film is a visual masterpiece. (If you can handle the bloodiness of it all) Even without a word in the opening scene you know just how powerful and important the man Titus is. Basically, if you are mature enough to handle extreme violence and aren't too squeamish, SEE TITUS!
This is a wonderful example of how staging, acting, and meticulous directing
truly make or break a play. "Titus Andronicus" is miles away Shakespeare's
worst play, but this film may very well be the best film of 2000 (it's
actual release date). Any flaws in this film come from the flaws in the play
itself, a turgid, heavy-handed work which was Shakespeare's first, and the
fact that there are SO few flaws is a testament to the genius of this
Julie Taymor's direction is steady, assured, and always thoughtful. Tovoli's cinematography is phenomenal and adds greatly. Goldenthal's score is always appropriate and extremely well orchestrated. The performances are brilliant to the last. When William Shakespeare is your weak link, you have an amazing work of art.
A few words of warning are in order. Since this is Shakespeare, clearly those who are put off by Elizabethan English (though very intelligibly inflected) should avoid this play. Purist Shakespeare fans should avoid it as well since it is not set in ancient Rome but rather some modern alternate reality thereof. The character of Aaron "the Moor" is African-American and is presented as the epitome of Evil. In my opinion, though, it is greatly to the film makers' credit that they did not at all back off from this modernly controversial element; their solution was to cast Harry J. Lennix who, in a career-making performance, instills the character with nobility and power and, while still evil, makes him the most dynamic and powerful character. Finally, the film is disturbing, violent, and bloody (though not moreso than Shakespeare's original staging), so be warned.
If, like me, none of the above disturb you, then consider this film a must-see. It is a fabulous piece of cinema, and if you ever manage to see a stage production of this almost-never-performed play, it would be extremely hard pressed to outdo this film.
I found it to be as sensual retelling of a Shakespearean classic. All 12
principle characters were portrayed so beautifully I had to see the film
Alan Cumming's performance of Saturninus stood out like a rose among daises. The Rhys boys played the Tiger-like brothers with such reckless abandon, I could not take my eyes off of them.
As for the look of the film, I think the melding of the classical and the modern, in all aspects, was brilliant. The costuming was inspired, the backdrops amazing. I think it is the best movie out today.
I didn't know what to expect going into see this. But I don't think anyone
could really prepare themselves for TITUS. It's the most thrilling,
innovative and challenging movie of the year - and maybe decade. I've never
seen or heard anything like it. The director Julie Taymor pushes everything
to the edge - and beyond. Her witch's brew is made up of extraordinary
acting, incredible sets, a stirring musical score, surrealistic episodes
integrated successfully into a tale of horror, revenge and redemption which
has long been the skeleton in Shakespeare's closet and she makes an
excellent case for its rehabilitation.
All the actors are exceptionally fine: Jessica Lange makes a femme fatale to die for - and so many do! Alan Cumming is mesmerizing and Harry J. Lennix is an actor of power and subtlety. But the movie essentially belongs to Sir Anthony Hopkins. This part must be an almost impossible one to play: the technical skills demanded and the emotional range called upon to make Titus believable must be unparalleled. Yet Sir Anthony makes him not only believable but a compelling force of nature. His performance is a landmark in Shakespeare on film.
This film will probably appeal more to the people who think they wouldn't like it! Regular "Masterpiece Theater" fans will be shocked by the avant-gardism and all the display of sex and violence and fans of raunchy movies will be scared off by Shakespeare! Women may think the subject matter too horrifying to appeal to them. They would be wrong.
My friends and I decided to watch a serious movie, and being teenagers and all this would have been the most far fetched movie we picked, but something drawn us too it. The movie is amazing, hard to understand the english dialouge at first but gets easier as the movie progresses. Lots of scandal and twist in this movie that make shakspear one of the greatest writters ever. The cinematography captures you at the first seen and Hopkins is remarkable in this film. I suggest everyone to watch this movie!
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