The Tempest (I) (2010)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy


The Tempest (2010) Poster

Shakespeare's epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female.


5.3/10
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  • Djimon Hounsou and Kimora Lee Simmons at an event for The Tempest (2010)
  • David Strathairn in The Tempest (2010)
  • Alan Cumming and Chris Cooper in The Tempest (2010)
  • Alan Cumming at an event for The Tempest (2010)
  • Chris Cooper in The Tempest (2010)
  • Djimon Hounsou and Julie Taymor at an event for The Tempest (2010)

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3 September 2012 | OttoVonB
3
| Sound and Fury...
Julie Taymor (Frida, Titus) sets her sights on the Bard's final masterpiece, recasting Prospero as Prospera (Hellen Mirren) and letting the magic and romance loose in this very different take on The Tempest.

First, what works? Hellen Mirren does, rather unsurprisingly, and the art direction of photography are consistent with the vision of the woman who gave us Titus back in 1999. Kudos as well to the ever-watchable David Strathairn and Djimon Hounsou.

What annoys? Now we enter very subjective ground. This beautiful, deceptively simple play is turned into an amped up to the max, loud and frantic film. The electric guitar whines are painfully out of place, and Russell Brand, never guilty of subtlety on a good day, will make you claw your own eardrums out. It's almost as if Taymor had forgotten we were right there with her cast, right behind the camera, instead of sitting 50ft back in a packed theater.

This has proved an incredibly divisive film, and I feel split right down the middle on it. I admire Titus, in my mind one of the best Shakespeare adaptations in history, but whereas Taymor's turbocharged visuals and loud, often trashy use of sound and effects served as a perfect illustration for Shakesepare's bonkers gore-fest, it diminishes the more mature, heartfelt qualities of this play. The Tempest is a great playwright's swan song, the work of an aging, mature artist. Why would you give us an overly loud, ADD-afflicted MTV version?

Ultimately, this frustrating missed opportunity makes you wonder, did Taymor have her Shakespeare mixed up all along. Rather than give us "the stuff that dreams are made of", she serves us "a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

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