I supposed my reaction to Julie Taymor’s photographically bold, yet cinematicly flat rendition of William Shakespeare’s play could be summed up by comparing the performance of Alan Cumming from her previous film Titus to the one he yields here. In Titus, he is a campy-over-the-top force of nature, a pure delight of showmanship. In The Tempest, he is yawning his way through the inevitable march across the Hawaiian voclanic badlands with an equally subdued Chris Cooper and David Strathairn. Maybe the gory Grand Guignol of Titus was a more suitable fit than the more introspective, meta-ish nature of The Tempest for her particular sort-of-a-stage-production-sort-of-a-film style. Outside of the farcical comedic elements, Alfred Molina is at his bawdy best here, with Russell Brand providing somewhat consistent support, which seem to capture the best elements of Shakespeare’s ability to play to the back of the room, The Tempest merely makes me want to go back and revisit Peter Greenaway’s take on the Bard with Prospero’s Books, or for that matter, just re-watch Tarsem’s The Fall.
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