The Tempest

  • PG
  • Julie Taymor (2010)
  • US / UK / Ind
  • 105 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Shakespeare's valedictory play comes to the screen with the leading role of Prospero, the ousted Milanese nobleman practising his dark arts on a Mediterranean island, changed to Prospera so that Helen Mirren can play the part. She's predictably splendid - bringing the verse to life, attuned to the rage and compassion in the material - though the gender switch gives the impression that director Julie Taymor's adaptation is a more radical beast than it actually is. True, Ben Whishaw's Ariel is an androgynous, digitally tricked-out sprite, and Djimon Hounsou's presence as the brutish drudge Caliban suggests a Shakespearean critique of colonialism, yet this is an otherwise conventional affair in Elizabethan dress, with rugged island locations. For all Taymor's superficial computer-generated frippery, it works best when she lets her actors simply get on with it, with both shipwrecked aristocrats David Strathairn and Chris Cooper, and their mischief-making crew (Alfred Molina, a surprisingly effective Russell Brand), matching Mirren's accomplishment. The result is certainly good enough to leave us once more astonished by Shakespeare's invention, yet it ultimately lacks the interpretative authority that might have made it something special.

Plot Summary

Fantasy drama based on the Shakespeare play, starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand and Alfred Molina. The sorceress Prospera is exiled by her brother, who sets her adrift with her young daughter, Miranda. Shipwrecked on an island, Prospera plots revenge until one day a royal ship carrying King Alonso and her treacherous sibling is caught up in a storm. However, her plans for vengeance are hindered when a now grown-up Miranda falls for the king's son, Ferdinand.

Cast and crew

Cast

Prospera
Helen Mirren
Trinculo
Russell Brand
Stephano
Alfred Molina
Prince Ferdinand
Reeve Carney
Gonzalo
Tom Conti
Antonio
Chris Cooper
Sebastian
Alan Cumming
Caliban
Djimon Hounsou
Miranda
Felicity Jones
King Alonso
David Strathairn
Ariel
Ben Whishaw

Crew

Director
Julie Taymor

Other Information

Language: 
English
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
Buena Vista
Guidance: 
Contains nudity.
Released 4 Mar 2011
Certificate PG
Categories
Drama

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