Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dvd/150: THE HOLLOW CROWN: RICHARD II (Rupert Goold, 2012)

This trilogy of films based on four Shakespeare history plays, commissioned by the BBC for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, are excellent examples of intelligent, gripping stage-to-screen adaptations.

All three are cast to perfection: Ben Whishaw is marvellous as Richard, fey, capricious and remote, who, like Lear, initiates his own downfall by banishing his cousin Bolingbroke to six years abroad then appropriates his cousin's fortune and lands when Bolingbroke's father John of Gaunt dies.

Rory Kinnear is fine as the conflicted usurper Bolingbroke, their scenes together have an electric quality especially in the riveting abdication scene.

Excellent support comes from Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt as well as David Suchet, Lindsay Duncan and David Morrissey among others.

Goold, whose adaptation with Ben Power has a fast-paced clarity, directs in a fluid style which leaves no symbolism unchecked and has a slight over-reliance on slow-motion detailing.

Shelf or charity shop?  I'faith my lord, shelf.

No comments: