|Index||3 reviews in total|
There are many adaptations of King Lear for the silver screen or the TV
screen. So a question one has to ask is: what makes this version so
special? The answer is: nothing at all.
Even in the first scene, it is made clear that this was a very low-budget production. The entire look-and-feel of the film is cheap. The costumes look like they were rented from the local fun shop, the sets are slightly better than high school quality and the exteriors are too clearly computer-drawn. Luckily, the acting is not of that quality. I especially liked Neil (the Fool), Robertson (Kent) and Riddington (Edmund). For me, these three made the film work, despite its shortcomings in terms of setting and props.
King Lear is an incredibly powerful story. No wonder it has been adapted for mass-viewing numerous times. This version does not depend on expensive costumes and amazing special effects. Instead, the actors made sure there is enough to look at for three hours, which is the right amount of time for any of Shakespeare's plays.
Nobody seems to have the patience and guts to sit out a 3 hour long film questioning eternal human behaviour as greed, jealousy, hatred and false-heartedness. These themes are at the heart of a lot of Shakespeare's works. Set in the early middle-ages with a fair deal of suspense and superstition and witchery this film should appeal to fantasy lovers. The acting in this film is great and the story is of a kind that scenario-writers seldom match. It is a shame only 10 people of IMDb took notice of this film. All is in it;tenderness, unconditional love,terrible remorse, and all for us to see and entertain us.
Like many of Bill Shakespeare's play King Lear is open to many
interpretations. Should the old sire of Pagan Britain be played as a
once great man now crippled by senility or a powerful King though
stripped from his regency still powerfully defiant against his
treasonous children and unbending mind?
Personally I don't give a hoot in what way they portray Lear as long as the performance impresses me and Brian Blessed did strike a cord.
His booming voice and his ample frame, even more present by the thick robes he wears create a Lear of great power.(watch how the the clothing changes to more delicate gowns when Lear is in his weaker moments, even to a white thin robe when he has come to terms with his insanity and is reunited with Cordelia, but that could all be a coincidence, hahaha) Although some my find Blessed's gibes and quaint gestures and intonations overacting, I liked them. (I love a good ham by the way.) Brian Blessed really carries the film and his boisterous Lear is just as impressive as the powerful performance by James Earl Jones. (Both drool at some point of the piece, but one thing I learned Shakespeare is better with a lot of Alien-like salivating.)
The supporting roles are good. Iain Stuart Robertson plays Kent and handles his role nicely and Philipa Peak is a serene Cordelia, albeit she seems a little uncomfortable with role.
Hildegarde Neill is a strange choice for the fool, but it works. If you really want to see her shine watch MacBeth with Jason Connery, she is excellent there as one of the Weird Sisters. Jason Riddington gives a fine portrayal of the villainous Edmund, though not as impressive as when Raoul Julia played the bastard(pun intended, hahaha, Shakespeare humor. Funny? Well, actually No)
The role that really impressed me besides Brian Blessed was Mark Burgess as Edgar, although Edgar's part doesn't feature any real shining moment besides when he feigns madness as "Poor Tom", Burgess handles these madness scenes with finesse. Playing the role more calmly and reserved letting his eyes speak the madness rather than a more physical performance with a lot of shouting and jumping, like many others play Poor Tom. (for instance René Auberjonois)
All in all; a nice production of Bill's majestic drama despite the probably tight budget, but hey, you watch Bill's plays for the acting not the dressing.
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