December 22, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

A charming concoction from director Joss Whedon, who shot this contemporary-looking take on Shakespeare's enchanting comedy at his own home in Santa Monica. It's in black-and-white, and the language of the original play is preserved (to the best of my knowledge), which in itself is a tricky undertaking, but the cast layers the movie with real feeling and heart. This version of Much Ado About Nothing strips away the possibility of diminishing Shakespeare's words, for the production is simple yet elegant, and the clever, passionate, amusing, dialogue emerges as the star of the show. And Joss Whedon's own brand of subtle humor, which always feels natural rather than embellished, adds to the pleasure of the writing (why mess with greatness?) and the performances of a cast of TV actors, all of whom do fine work. A truly worthwhile experience. The cast includes the wonderful Amy Acker as Beatrice, Alexis Denisof as Benedick, Reed Diamond as Don Pedro, Nathan Fillion as Dogberry, Clark Gregg as Leonato, Fran Kranz as Claudio, Sean Maher as Don John, Jillian Morgese as Hero, Spencer Treat Clark as Borachio, Ashley Johnson as Margaret, and Riki Lindhome as Conrade.

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