Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 6.8


Downloaded 834 times
1/21/2021 3:07:23 PM

123 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by barnabyrudge 7

Director Oliver Parker wanted to make Othello a more &quot;pacy&quot; story, so he omitted quite a lot of the original text when writing this version for the screen. Luckily, the cuts and alterations that he has made do little damage to the old Shakesperean chestnut. I wouldn&#39;t say that any of the tweaks are particularly for the better, but the essence of Shakespeare&#39;s tale of envy, jealousy and deceit is so powerful that it would take a bungling fool - an Ed Wood wannabe, for instance - to rob it of its power. The weighty themes shine through as strongly as ever in this latest presentation.<br/><br/> Laurence Fishburne plays the titular character, a renowned Moorish soldier. His courage has impressed young Venetian lady Desdemona (Irene Jacob) and the pair of them secretly marry. However, her father is displeased by this secret ceremony and he warns Othello that if she can deceive her own father then she may one day do the same to him. One of Othello&#39;s soldiers, Iago (Kenneth Branagh) fails to get a promotion of rank which he feels he deserves, and to gain revenge he engineers a series of lies and incidents designed to convince Othello that his wife is being disloyal to him by fornicating with another man.<br/><br/> Inevitably, viewers may find themselves comparing this version with other productions. How does it rank alongside the 1952 Orson Welles version and the 1965 Laurence Olivier one? To be honest, it depends upon the viewer. Purists would probably opt for the Olivier offering, since it is only very slightly abridged and contains such strong performances that all four lead actors earned Oscar nominations. Film buffs might go for the Welles version, with its moody b&amp;w lighting and a now-classic murder scene, not to mention the fact that the production history itself is as fascinating as the story. This version will undoubtedly find favour with viewers more inclined towards modern tastes. It has high production values, a sweeping score, accessible delivery of the lines, flashy photography, and &quot;cool&quot; stylistic touches (Fishburne&#39;s head tattoo, for instance). Personally, I feel the 1952 Othello will always be the benchmark, but this one is reasonably well made and it compares quite favourably with other versions.

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Reviewed by EFRA 9

I&#39;ve always enjoyed Kenneth Branagh&#39;s versions of the Shakespeare classics, as he always does a very good job, but in this movie, the one who lifts the whole movie, is none other than &quot;the-always-great-actor&quot; Laurence Fishburne. Surely he has made some poor choices in films, even though he&#39;s a wonderful actor, but in this one we&#39;re truly given the real Othello: the passion, the intensity of jealousy as it grows stronger alongside with Fishburne&#39;s well portrayed paranoia and, furthermore, we&#39;re finally given a black Othello!<br/><br/>I don&#39;t think they could have chosen a better Othello. Who else could have given him that blend of sympathy/antipathy, love/hatred and, not to forget, those fiery eyes...? Branagh is good as always, but not at his peak, Iréne Jacob&#39;s Desdemona is fairly good but a bit bleak, whilst Laurence Fishburne truly lifts it and makes it a very interesting and enjoyable movie. Do watch it.

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Reviewed by artwk 7

For me, the Lawrence Fishbourne version of &quot;Othello&quot; is the best ever put on film. His performance is excellent, while not overpowering the villainous Iago. And the title role is played by a black man, as it should be, rather than a white man with boot-polish on his face. The film&#39;s marginal eroticism has been criticised, but isn&#39;t eroticism at the very heart of the story? <br/><br/>Olivier&#39;s &quot;Othello&quot; was essentially a film of the stage production, and for me the Orson Welles version was a failure, despite Welles&#39; star performance, because most of the other actors were almost devoid of charisma. How could Desdemona possibly have been interested in a slob like Welles&#39; Cassio?<br/><br/>I have always found the original play unconvincing, for several reasons. Iago&#39;s motive, resentment of Cassio&#39;s promotion, seems too trivial for the tragedy it precipitates. At risk of committing heresy, I found the Verdi opera more convincing, with the soliloquy by Iago explaining his innate determination to commit evil.<br/><br/>Also, given the closeness of Othello&#39;s friendship with Iago, his decision to bypass him in favour of Cassio makes little sense. Likewise, Othello&#39;s readiness to believe the worst of Desdemona, and the ease with which Iago leads him on to murder, makes the title character look quite pathetic, almost simple-minded.<br/><br/>In this film, the cutting of the text to the absolute minimum helps to hide the play&#39;s inherent faults and tighten the action, and Fishbourne&#39;s wordless suffering speaks volumes that more than make up for the loss of Shakespeare&#39;s lines. I couldn&#39;t help comparing this film with Kenneth Brannagh&#39;s &quot;Hamlet&quot;, the longest and most tedious of his self-advertisements, in which every long-winded speech was preserved intact. Here Brannagh&#39;s Iago is almost as good as Fishbourne&#39;s Othello, and he makes the most of the lines he has.<br/><br/>To sum up, ten out of ten. I can only regret that Fishbourne is not offered more roles of this quality.

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