Monday, December 26, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

1993, Kenneth Branaugh, 110m

The title is appropriate for this example of the Shakespearean sub-genre. It is a loosely bound series of quickly resolving love tangles involving two couples, full of misunderstandings, impersonation and mild villany. Its distinguishing feature is the verbal sparring between the lead pair which sustains like a tight rope walk till the end. Beatrice, the heroine, is known for her robust, independent, intelligent character which must have been anachronistic when the play was written. On the whole, in this presentation the comic element is artificial and overdone, with much unnatural grimacing and overdose of merry England. We have a surfeit of Branaugh's mannerisms which make this role of his little different from his better known Hamlet. Finally, the exuberant harmonizing life force, which is the poet's signature, in mirth as in tragedy, overpowers and compensates all. This is a film drenched in sunshine, laughter, prosperity, set in a carefree demi paradise--as much hallmarks of the scriptwriter as his great tragedies.


Anonymous said...

It's a pleasant Shakespeare film. Some do work and the others do not work well, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Keanu Reeves was nominated for the Razzie award for his performance in this film, by the way. Not truly awful, but he is too flat as a villain in the story.

S. M. Rana said...

Flat is the right word for the villain's performance. Refinement, delicacy and joy are the hallmarks of the comedies and this film does bring out these elements.