When America revolted against Great Britain all those years ago we declared ourselves free: free of taxation without representation, free of colonialism, free of Shakespeare. But now, just like the CIA once dropped LSD into our water, Great Britain is dropping Shakespeare into our movie theaters. With the success of "Henry V" a few years ago the British realized that Shakespeare and Kenneth Branagh could potentially lure the United States back under the British flag by making us think that the Bard's iambic pentameter was somehow good for us. Well here's a message for you sneaky English from all us Americans: SCREW YOU GUYS!
This film needs three things: a new name, less Kenneth Branagh and subtitles. This movie should be called "Iago" not "Othello" since the film is more about the former and less about the latter. Iago (Branagh) is irritated because Othello (Laurence Fishburne) has made Casio (Nathaniel Parker) his right-hand man, bypassing Iago. Iago then plots to ruin the lives of newlyweds Othello and Desdemona (Irene Jacob) by convincing Othello that Desdemona is sleeping with Casio.
Does Kenneth Branagh have to be in every one of these films or is some other actor eventually going to get a crack at it? And how about a little help with the crappy dialogue? Subtitles could certainly have helped the Shakespearianly-challenged. (Dialogue: "Alas, sir, thou art like a rube" Subtitle: "You're a wanker"). Flashbacks to high school English class are something I can do without.
To spread the word about this Othello review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.