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The Tempest

July 22, 2014

The Tempest (2010)
Director: Julie Taymor
Actors: Helen Mirren, Ben Whishaw, Felicity Jones

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Synopsis: Prospera (Helen Mirren) – wronged and exiled wife to the now deceased Duke of Milan – wreaks a storm on the ship carrying her duplicitous brother Antonio (Chris Cooper) plus the King and Prince of Naples. They wash up on Prospera’s island, and slowly work their way towards a showdown of sorts with her….

Review: ‘The Tempest‘ features one of Shakespeare’s most undramatic and allusive of plots, and the play really is far better suited to being read on stage as a piece of verse and having classical actors perform it within the specific confines of a theatre.

Director Julie Taymor never really solves this fundamental challenge to realisin the play as a piece of cinema, although, give her her due, the shifting of Prospero to a female character (Prospera) gives a plausible woman wronged (if not exactly feminist) slant to proceedings. The rest of the adaptation is workmanlike. As with a lot of filmed Shakespeare, there’s the mildly diverting parlour game of seeing which collection of celebrated actors are going to pitch up this time around. With the exception of Ben Whishaw – who with the help of some imaginative CGI and his own beautiful verse-speaking, gives a creditable turn as Ariel – the rest of the actors mouth the lines and walk through the actions without much élan or conviction. (July 2014)

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