Thursday, December 9, 2010

King Lear (TV 2009)

King Lear (Great TV Series 1972-)
Directed by Trevor Nunn

Rating: 6
Watch-ability: 7
Impact: ...

Watch it Again: Probably not.
Recommend it: I don't know...

Starring Ian McKellen, William Gaunt, Philip Winchester, Ben Meyjes, Francis Barber, Monica Dolan, Romola Garai, Sylvester McCoy, Jonathan Hyde, etc...

Not rated.
There is a great quantity of skin and the sisters are pretty creepy. The "out vile jelly" scene where Gloucester gets his eyes stomped out is disturbing. There is a hanging and some blood...obviously a lot of dying.
There's a lot of touching, like a lot of Shakespeare movies. This isn't necessarily bad, but if it creeps you out (like it does me) this movie would probably get a pretty harsh rating. ;-)

(See King Lear review.)

What to Expect

The sets are purposefully minimal and the whole movie is done more like a play. There are few characters and most of the sets are outside. There is no soundtrack. Always very dark lighting.

The costumes and setting/time period where pretty neat.

They do not add to the original play, but they do take out different sections. Sometimes a phrase, sometimes a chunk, and at least one whole scene.

I felt like some of the removed text is the best and most Christian. They took out some of Edger's best lines.

Also...their much more sympathetic to all the bad characters.

My Squib

As much as I do not Ian McKellen, he is an amazing actor.
I thought he did a great job as King Lear.

When he was insane he was especially convincing...

I loved the fool in the book, but he bothered me in the movie.

Goneril and Regan
These gals were the main sources of creepiness..

This is Philip Winchester as Edmund. (Think Flyboys and "Nights of the Air".)

He had considerably more hair in the movie version (some of these pictures are from a stage version). He played the part very well and was way to likeable.
Especially considering Edgar...

Frankly...he was awful.
He was a pathetic loser at the beginning and they totally have to make him start acting out of character to have him end up stabbing Edmund at the end. It's just plain weird.
It's like they couldn't stand having an awesome guy in the play.

This was the worst part about the movie....with no doubts.

Kent was comical...
I imagined him more sweet, yet cynical than comical, but he was interesting.

Romola Garai made a wonderful Cordelia.
I love a lot of movies that she plays in, but her acting style often bugs me. It's almost like she's overacting or something. But as Cordelia in a Shakespeare play this totally worked for me.

Poor Edmund is dead... Cwy. ;-)
Loved this creepy lady's coat!

Albany and Gloucester both did a really good job, I thought. I really liked Albany.

This scene was well done.
They insinuate that Kent goes off and shoots himself after this scene... You could interpret his last lines like that, but I hadn't thought of it that way before. Especially with the way they portray Kent, it didn't really fit.

Over all it had a very Trevor Nunn/Ian McKellen feel. Which means there were certain things I really liked about it, but mostly I didn't. ;-)

So yeah... That's my first experience with King Lear as a movie. :-)
Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


Miss Laurie said...

Thanks for this review! I've been looking for good film or TV adaptations of Shakespeare's play and have seen several major/popular adaptations and enjoyed most but King Lear is hard to find. This review will help me to decide whether or not I watch this. Thanks! :)

Rosanne E. Lortz said...

Have you seen the preview for The Tempest? It comes out in Limited release in theaters tomorrow. It looks pretty crazy....

Rachel Renée said...

I agree about Ramona Garai :) she is cute though! I only listened to King Lear on audio and so I'm sure missed a lot - I should actually read it :)

I also read your review of the book, and liked the Leithart quotes. I recently read his book on Jane Austen and it was wonderful! Thanks for reminding me that I need to read more of his books too!

Grace and Peace!

Jubilant Wife said...

I need toread the book before I see the movie... if I ever get around to it, that is. I also really like Ian's acting. Edmond looks nice! And so, I guess, that means he MUST die. Edgar looks creepy!
Thanks for sharing!

Polka Dot said...

This movie was really disturbing... what I saw of it. And I only liked the bad guy. LOL.

Rebekah said...

I've heard of the movie before but never seen it... I'm not sure if it really looks worth my time... hmm...

I just caught up on all I've missed in the last several weeks... You've been busy! :) Your Word War sounds like it was fun - maybe if you do it again sometime, I can join. I've never been able to NaNoWriMo, simply because of the month of the year (tons of Thanksgiving stuff to do!) but I love writing!

Hope you're having a pleasant Christmas season! :)

To the KING be all the glory!

Miss Pickwickian said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Thanks for the link Rosanne. I hadn't heard about the new Tempest yet. It looks pretty wild. It will be interesting to read the reviews...

Rachel, Leithart is awesome. :-) "Deep Comedy" is especially cool if you're interested in story in general. I still haven't got my hands on his biography of Jane Austin yet! I did read "Miniatures and Morals" thought. Very good.

Rebekah, I will be having another Word War in the future. :-) I totally understand. November is a hectic month. It's hard to devote that much time to writing!

Thanks for the comments all!
Miss Pickwickian

MsCFaith said...

When he was insane he was especially convincing...

You took the words right out of my mouth! :D Just looking at the picture gives you that impression.