Review #32 Much Ado About Nothing- FIVE STAR REVIEW
Directed by- Joss Whedon
Starring- Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof and Fran Kranz
This movie is fantastic. It’s beautifully shot in black and white and set in Joss Whedon’s beautiful Californian home.
I’ve never watched much Shakespeare- I was subjected to it at school like most, but I don’t particularly have any strong feelings about his work either way. I appreciate that he was an excellent writer who has had a profound effect on the English language, but I don’t exactly jump at the chance when I hear about a new production or a new film. Except when it’s directed by Joss Whedon.
I’m not sure how familiar people are with Much Ado About Nothing, but it’s one of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies. The story centers around two couples, the very much in love Hero (Jillian Morgese) and Claudio (Fran Kranz), and the cool, Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker), whose unclassical approach to romance contrasts greatly with that of Hero and Claudia. However, the course of love does not run smoothly for Hero and Claudio, as the interfering Don John (Sean Maher) attempts to disrupt their wedding plans.
I spent the first 40 minutes of this movie feeling like I was watching something in a language I haven’t spoken for years. However, after that, it was so much easier to understand. It’s quite amusing at first, a whimsical take on Shakespeare. It’s different from Romeo + Juliet because it’s in black and white, and knowing that it was filmed in the lunch breaks from Avengers in twelve days makes it even more amazing and spectacular. The dialogue becomes so engaging (after the initial shock of only being able to understand every tenth word), and maybe it’s because everyone has an American accent, but I was hanging onto every word.
The acting is exquisite, let’s face it- after years of Shakespeare some people are still baffled (author included), and the way the movements and character interactions are translated into the modern day but mixed with the original script is transfixing. Clark Gregg as Hero’s father is great, and really tugs at the heart strings. Nathan Fillion brings comic relief to the film (when doesn’t he?!), as does Alexis Denisof- there are a couple of laugh out loud moments, which I think shows how well the movie is shot. From what I know of Shakespearean comedies, and judging by a couple of laughs from the audience, there are some funny lines (but it’s all in ye olde speak so not the easiest to laugh at), so certain situations bring comic relief.
Hats off to the cast and directing. It’s done so well and the lines are said with so much conviction, I was really amazed and in awe. Whether you love Shakespeare and Joss Whedon, neither or either, Much Ado About Nothing is a masterpiece.