365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

282. Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing”

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From a startlingly young age, Kenneth Branagh has managed to help bring to life the great works of Shakespeare, both by directing and by playing many of the most coveted leading male roles in the canon. One of his most memorable achievements in this area is in the wonderfully-adapted film version of the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing”, which has remained a popular movie among fans of the play ever since it came out.

With only one real casting misstep – Keanu Reaves as Don John, in which he makes even fewer facial expressions than usual – the film is filled with a remarkable number of notable actors and actresses, including Emma Thompson, Brian Blessed,Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard, Michael Keaton, and Denzel Washington. This troupe has wonderful chemistry together and all fit quite well in their respective roles.

The film itself has a lush setting, as the play is set in the beautiful land of Messina, Italy, where apparently everyone is as merry as can possibly be. Combined with some wonderful music, the scenery alone could make a decent movie. The actors, however, are so capable in their roles that only the gratuitous “look how pretty Italy is!” shots are when most will even notice the surroundings.

Shakespeare’s tale of young love, a battle of the sexes (and wits), evil plots, dastardly deeds, and, of course, a happy ending – this is a comedy, after all. This is possibly one of Shakespeare’s best plays, as it features a wonderfully witty script, full of a good balance between joy and darkness. The characters are a rich cast, and no role is a bad role.

Branagh’s take on the film is mostly traditional, so don’t expect the same historical setting update that he gave to his “Hamlet” – he keeps the action pretty much when and where it was meant to be. He makes a charming Benedick, absolutely loveable and hilarious in his delivery of some of the funniest lines that Shakespeare ever penned for a leading man. What’s more, Emma Thompson, his then-wife, is more than capable of providing a worthy opponent, and looks perhaps her most beautiful ever in this movie.

The film is both mirth and matter, a delightful tale that will bring a smile to the face of every audience member for decades to come. See it now – it is a story of romance and laughter that you will never forget!

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Written by Caroline Mincks

July 10, 2010 at 11:38 PM

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