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Kenneth Branagh

August 26, 1996

One of the finest actor-directors of the decade, Branagh was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 10, 1960. Branagh started acting on the stage, performing in the works of William Shakespeare. He founded the Renaissance Theatre Company in the 1980's, where he performed Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear. His first work as a director-actor in films came with the acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare's historical epic, Henry V (1989).

The films that he has released since then have gained critical acclaim in some circles:

  1. Dead Again (1991), an outstanding mystery, which is a homage to film noir and Orson Welles.
  2. Peter's Friends (1992), Branagh's answer to America's The Big Chill, dealing with the 10-year reunion of a group of college friends and their zany exploits.
  3. Much Ado About Nothing (1993), one of his best adaptations of Shakespeare so far.

His recent work has recieved mixed reaction from the public and critics alike. No one was sure what to make of Branagh's new film version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), though it did have excellent performances from Branagh as the mad doctor, and Robert De Niro as the doctor's hideous creation. His little seen A Midwinter's Tale (1996), has remained almost forgotten. Plus, he's gone through a rather messy separation from his wife, Academy award winning actress Emma Thompson, who has appeared in four of her former husband's film works. Still, Branagah has been able to keep his chin up. He has already given an impressive performance as Iago, in the recent film version of Othello. Also, he is planning his third filmed Shakespeare tale. He is going to play the same character he played on stage in his theatre days, Hamlet (1996). Keep watching, because Branagh (A.K.A., the new Laurence Olivier) always makes something worth watching.

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My rating on a scale of 1 to 10: 9


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