William Shakespeare's classic play is brought into the present with the setting as Great Britian in the 1930s. Civil war has erupted with the House of Lancaster on one side, claiming the right to the British throne and hoping to bring freedom to the country. Opposing is the House of York, commanded by the infamous Richard III (Sir Ian McKellen), who rules over a fascist government and hopes to install himself as a dictator monarch.Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Delightful contemporary turn of a classic piece of literature.
When I see how wonderful this Richard III is, it immediately makes me question what in the world has Kenneth Branagh been doing all these years? Certainly nothing as imaginative, as provocative as this.
Deprived of Shakespeare as a child, I have been forced to catch up piece meal through film. Al Pacino's "Looking for Richard" gives attention to Richard III, from a far different perspective, but both that film and this agree that it has all the key elements of great drama: evil ambition, betrayal, rivalry.
The casting is tremendous with Ian McKellen (from his own stage play) and Kristen Scott-Thomas in the leads-thankfully there is no Kenneth Branagh to be found. And is this guy Jim Broadbent any good, or what? For my money he steals every scene he plays in "Little Voice", he's subtly brilliant here in a lesser role. Only Annette Benning seems a little overmatched in her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, but that's hardly surprising.
The accessibility of the current version, the setting in 1930's Fascist Europe, gives the story a vibrancy that is present from the first frame to the last.
Challenging, fun, and educative-far more than most films deliver. I highly recommend.
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