A Midwinter's Tale

Bomb Rating: 

Just how much of this self-exploratory actor crap do we have to take? We've already endured "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Living in Oblivion," both films that engage in patent self-indulgence under the guise of artful self-examination. Now comes Kenneth Branagh with his "actors are people too" film.

Branagh is concerned that audiences are growing tired of Shakespeare. We know this because his protagonist, both director and star of the play, Joe Harper (Michael Maloney), says so. He's worried nobody will show up to his rendition of "Hamlet" and that nobody will care. There's something painfully insincere about Branagh languishing over the plight of the struggling artist while simultaneously raking in millions of dollars per year. This isn't an ode to acting -- it's an ode to the days of poverty and misery. It's like rubbing the soiled undergarment of success under the nose of every actor who ever wanted to be something.

Branagh doesn't spend a whole lot of time explaining much about the play, assuming that anyone willing to pay money to see it will already know something about Hamlet. This will undoubtedly come as a shock to most of Branagh's American fans, who think Laertes and Fortinbras are breeds of hamster.

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