Friday, June 21, 2013


The latest adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is clearly a passion project for writer/director Joss Whedon. Shot in secret over a period of 12 days at his own home, the drama that The Bard once scratched out in quill plays perfectly to Whedon’s talent for sharp dialogue, interesting characters, and character-drama.
Leonato (Clark Gregg), is visited by his friend Don Pedro (Reed Diamond), his brother Don John (Sean Maher), Claudio (Fran Kranz), and Benedick (Alexis Denisof). Claudio falls for Leonato’s daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while Benedick verbally spars with Lenato’s niece Beatrice (Amy Acker). What follows are many tricks in deceptions to make one couple fall in love, and the other out of it, with the latter eventually investigated by Constable Dogberry (Nathon Fillion).

This version of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING feels like Joss Whedon invited all his old pals over to perform Shakespeare in the park, and that wouldn’t be far from the truth. Keeping the original text and shot with a fly-on-the-wall technique, the film feels very real and natural. Despite the usage of ye olde English, the characters are very accessible and it doesn’t take long to figure out who to pull for, and who to root against.
As the tricks of deception start to unfold, a great deal of charm and well-timed humor can be found everywhere. Characters play against each other nicely, and Whedon’s trademark of letting the characters be themselves, and allowing their actions drive the twisty plot matches Shakespeare’s narrative perfectly. It is a joy to see unfold and there is never a moment without fulfilling charm.

Shot in glorious black-and-white, Whedon exploits every last inch of his house, as his camera always gives us something interesting and unique to look at. The old English at first is a bit of a chore to get through, but it does manage to work its way into your brain, and by the time ten minutes have passed, you barely notice it. It works so well that you just may find yourself leaving the theatre speaking in that old prose.
The entire cast seems to be having a blast with their roles and it really shows. Everyone is solid, but what makes the film shine are the surprises each cast member reveals; they all show great range in going from dramatic heartbreak to knee-slapping comedy in the blink of an eye. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker are the true stars, showing great chemistry and are just a joy to watch. Nathan Fillion lights up the screen in his limited time, and Clark Gregg finally gets to flex his acting diversity with a show-stopping performance.

Long-time fans of Whedon will undoubtedly geek-out over seeing all these actors from his various TV and film projects share the screen. Shakespeare buffs will wrap themselves up in the film like a blanket, while those just looking for a good movie will be hard pressed to find one that is more charming, fun, and brilliant. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is everything a good movie should be: wonderful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.