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Teen Movie Critic

Richard III (1996)


Roger Davidson

Richard III
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Like the recent film version of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's classic historical play is updated to 20th-century settings. It appears to be the era of WWII, as tanks, machine guns and bombers wreak havoc on the battlefield. The hunchbacked Richard (Ian McKellen) is as thirsty for power as ever, killing his brother Clarence (Nigel Hawthorne), his in-law Rivers (Robert Downey Jr.), his nephews and just about every other character in the story. Especially the ones in line for the throne!

The great language is still here, but the story has been chopped up and drastically shortened. The film itself is hurried along too quick, with some of the best scenes beginning and ending in a matter of seconds. Of the performances, McKellen is towering in the title role and recent Academy-award nominee Kirsten Scott-Thomas as Lady Anne is lovely, but the others are rather dull and miscast. American actors Downey and Annette Bening (as the Queen Elizabeth) give truly awful performances, which stick out like sore thumbs. See the 1956 film version of the play, which is far superior to this one.

My Rating = Two Stars

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