HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Richard III The Killer
Year: 1995
Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Wood, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter, Edward Hardwicke, Adrian Dunbar, Dominic West, Tim McInnerny, Bill Paterson, Denis Lill, Michael Elphick
Genre: Drama, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The United Kingdom in the nineteen-thirties, but not as history quite recalls it, as the King and his army have been struck down by the forces of York, and Edward (John Wood) has taken the throne, although he is not in the best of health. The man who shot the previous monarch is Edward's brother, Richard (Ian McKellen), and he has plans of his own, plans which he does not share with many people so you should feel privileged that he takes you into his confidence. After making a rousing speech at a celebratory dance, he ends up alone, plotting and plotting, informing us that he will not rest until he has the crown himself...

For many years, the definitive screen interpretation of William Shakespeare's most celebrated villain, Richard III, was Laurence Olivier's in his 1955 version of the play, but forty years later there arrived a different reading, one which, though not as widely seen, was at least the equal of Olivier's. This was a pet project of Sir Ian McKellen's, and to bring this adaptation, which he co-scripted with director Richard Loncraine, to the screen took a lot of work, all of which paid off as the finished production was something most would agree was highly imaginative and rather marvellous.

For a start, the setting is inspired. It takes the old science fiction concept of a parallel world and runs with it, translating the Bard's drama to a Britain that is suffering under the yoke of fascism: here it is not only Germany which is struggling with the Nazis, as Richard and his allies are fulfilling the same role in their own country. You get the impression that this Richard is not so much obsessed with becoming supreme ruler, as taking down the world which he abhors, leaving the dead bodies of the powerful strewn in his wake and the nation, the world even, in as much turmoil as he can possibly bring down upon its heads.

In this version, the script is streamlined from Shakespeare, so if you know the play inside out then you will be noticing what's missing and what has been altered, but unlike other films drawn from literature, this should not rankle too much with the purists. Why? Because it's so gleefully smart about what it does, crediting the audience with the intelligence to see how clever its being without descending into unwanted, obnoxious smugness. Much of this is thanks to McKellen: he may give himself the meatiest role, but he allows you to see there was nobody who could have carried this off any better than he.

It's a tremendous performance, humorous, sly, and calculating but never letting Richard's twisted humanity get away from him. The other members of an excellent cast do well to keep up with him, with a good many seizing their chances to shine when the spotlight falls on them, but really this is Sir Ian's show all the way. Working up a sense of decadence and decay that the new broom of Richmond (Dominic West) would do well to sweep away, not only does the film have Richard happy to execute his closest allies as well as those in the way to his kingdom, but will also see him relaxing with photographs of the recently put to death or turning into a man-boar during a nightmare sequence. With all this and a rally out of thirties Nuremberg and Lady Anne (Kristin Scott Thomas) injecting herself with heroin to get through the coronation, you cannot say it was not audacious, and you cannot say you do not relish every frame of Richard's wickedness. Music by Trevor Jones.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3522 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard Loncraine  (1946 - )

Capable British director who moves between film and television. Slade movie Flame was his first credit, then horror Full Circle and Dennis Potter adaptation Brimstone and Treacle were next. Michael Palin comedy The Missionary and the superb version of Shakespeare's Richard III were well received, as was his TV drama about Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm. He then had a hit with romantic Britcom Wimbledon.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: