Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ian McKellen
Annette Bening
Maggie Smith
Nigel Hawthorne
Ian McKellen.
Directors
Richard Loncraine.
Screenwriters
Richard Loncraine.
Running Time
104 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Richard III
Good Bard


submit to reddit


Plot
The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in a alternative fascist England setting.


Review
Since Richard III, Shakespeare’s classic dissection of power politics and evil’s allure is, rather than history, an outrageous piece of Tudor propaganda, there really is no reason why it can’t be removed from the 15th century. And so several years ago, Richard Eyre gave us an arresting, sharply written, intelligent interpretation of the play, starring Ian McKellen and staged with 1930s Fascist trappings at London’s National Theatre.
That production was the inspiration for Richard Loncraine’s daring, flashy film, for which he and the actor worked as screenwriters and in which McKellen authoritatively revisits one of the greatest roles in the English language.
Opening deliberately in the style of a Die Hard action yarn, this Richard introduces its bitter, twisted protagonist as the military genius victorious in a civil war that has rent a fictitious England in the 30s. His first sour soliloquy becomes a public toast at a victory ball; the court is composed of pinstriped gents, officers in black, and women in slinky satin.
Hawthorne’s touching Duke Of Clarence is assassinated in a steaming bath; Richard’s lady in red, Lady Anne (Scott Thomas), is a tortured dope fiend, and his nemeses the Rivers, Queen Elizabeth (Bening) and her brother “Earl” (Robert Downey Jnr., cheekily stealing scenes as a Panama-hatted sport) are American arrivistes.
This provocative stylisation serves the content well and emphasises the steamroller effect of evil, from one deviant’s resentful power lust to a popular movement. McKellen, rejecting the comic temptations contemporary actors commonly snatch in the hunchback, conveys the sardonic, savage wit but plays the dark malice to the hilt. Everyone in the cast is a strong Somebody, from Queen Mother Maggie Smith to assassin Adrian Dunbar.
The only drawback of this
“re-imagining” is that it is dispassionately cold in its sustained artifice, despite the splashy nods to modern cinemagoers’ frames of reference — sex, violence, explosions — which do pep up the popular appeal without condescension or gutting the text. Largely this is a fascinating, cerebral exercise, one that is acutely interesting rather than emotionally involving, but absolutely a notable cinematic tackling of the Bard.


Verdict
Rigorous adaptation of the notoriously "difficult" play.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Richard III
Empire Star Rating

Richard III

Unfortunately Richard III is not a widely seen film, and has not nearly enough of the acclaim it truly deserves. This 1930's adaption is an original and powerful idea, that works very well in terms of modern-day Shakespeare adaptions. A beautifully shot film with lustrous scenery, locations and sets, accompanied by suitable and elegant costumes. Sir Ian McKellen gives an Oscar worthy performance (thankfully recognised by the BAFTAs and Golden Globes) as a merciless, emotionless tyrant who's amb... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Steviebow at 19:38, 19 February 2007 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)