Thursday, November 17, 2005

Titus (1999) * Top Pick *

"Need a knife? I think there's one around here somewhere..."

Genre: Drama Fantasy War Horror (USA, Italy)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins (The Human Stain; Silence Of The Lambs), Jessica Lange (Rob Roy; The Postman Always Rings Twice)

Directed By: Julie Taymor (Frida)

Overview: When an old soldier returns from victory he finds himself amidst a rancorous political struggle involving the entirety of Rome's elite, leaving death and mutilation in its wake, with Titus himself as the seemingly intended target.

Acting: Shakespeare? Yeah, you'd better get the caliber of acting that is Anthony Hopkins. Nothing makes actors shine like Shakespeare. If you can take seldom heard, nigh-comprehensible monologues and make them understood by the lowest common denominator, then you have to be a genius right? Who am I kidding. The common don't watch this. As for the characters of Lavinia and the Moor? Amazing! And just FYI, directed by a woman, surprising yes. The fact that it's her first time directing a film, Holy GOD!
Rating: 10

Cinematography: Every scenes was meticulously chosen for it's depth and detail. From ones as simple as the wooded grove to the intricate 'Fellini'esque orgy halls, the vast swamp, the crossroads speech, the dining hall, it goes on and on. The look of this thing, very nice indeed. From gorgeous to morbid, every scene is so well thought out, I can't help but give it high praise. There's even these twisted little infernal special effect scenes that are used to separate the acts. Nice touch.
Rating: 10

Script: Uh, it's Shakespeare. Need I remind you that he's dead and his words are as immortal Homer's, perhaps moreso. I'd say that there's a few lines that I didn't get, but having seen it three times now, I'm really starting to get it. Not for everyone, I know, so it's not going to get a perfect 10, but it's pure poetry, so I can't help this score.
Rating: 9

Plot: The story is frikken amazing. 12 people die by the end of it, and though the story is a long one, there's lots more than just death. We're talking betrayal, conniving reversals, an entire family line is almost wiped out. A touch of madness, some malignant Moors with evil plots. This is truly fascinating and intricate stuff. The end however is all worth it. A great tale, and the fact that it's Shakespeare's bloodiest might just have a thing or two to do with it. Call me morbid.
Rating: 9

Mood: Man those last few speeches by Titus really hit you hard, not to mention his actions. The neat twist in this is not that lame attempt at modernity of the Office-Tower Hamlet (which I refuse to see). The look of this entire thing is 'Modern Classical'. It's as though Rome had always survived, and things advanced a little differently. The art and architecture is the same as of old, but everything is BIG. Big costumes and parties and cars. It's like the decadence at the height of the Roman Era, with electricity. There were a few things that I wasn't fond of like the hanging tree being a hunk of steel and the end sequence lasting 4 minutes of boring, so I wouldn't say PERFECT, but certainly highly artistic.
Rating: 9

"Any final requests? Like maybe another fork to rip across your face?"

Overall Rating: 94% (Absolutely Murderous!)

Aftertaste: The highest bodycount of any Shakespearian Drama. You know one thing I noticed about every single tragedy he's ever written? If the title is the name of someone, that dude is dead. Hamlet, Romeo and Juliette, MacBeth, Titus. Yeah, sorry to give away the formula. However, they called it the Merchant of Venice rather than Shylock. I guess that's why he's let off with his life. Interesting. Oh, and by the by, if the score doesn't speak for itself, I love this. I think it's my favorite Shakespeare actually. And it's top quality, if you're into it.