This film is about a man with the heart of a gladiator; a man who fights an epic, awe-inspiring battle against overwhelming physical and emotional turmoil; a man with the willingness to enter into the bowels of hell to discover the frightening truth about himself and the world. King Lear is an in-depth study of love, power and death.
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Shakespeare is my favorite playwright, and King Lear is my favorite play. I have seen many different productions, and own several audio-only versions on CD and download. I can honestly say that, from the acting end, this is the worst Lear I have ever seen. None of the actors, including the fellow playing the lead, seems ever to have had even the most basic vocal training, with the result that they sound, in the main, whiny, petulant and juvenile, rather than noble and thoughtful. This is fatal in Shakespeare, since the reading of the poetry is of paramount importance. No one has any concept of how to shape a speech, how to inflect a line so that the rise and fall are natural and coherent. Every line comes out sounding the same: identical inflections, clueless dramatic sense, and not even beauty of vocal tone to save them. Even soap opera actors are better than this. It's too bad, as the production values as regards costumes and settings are rather good. And to give them credit, the actors seem to be trying hard and doing their best. The director, however, has failed them mightily. Time and again, a poetically dramatic speech falls flat, spoken in an all-purpose drawl that seemingly has no cognisance of the meaning of the words. It's a great pity, since to gather so many assumedly competent artists together and then let them flail and flounder with no clear directorial vision is an aesthetic crime. I would urge anyone interested in what King Lear can actually be when done by conscientious and superlative artists, to hear the audio version by the Renaissance Theatre Company starring Sir John Gielgud, view the films directed by Peter Brook and Grigori Kosintsev, and above all to see the television production starring Sir Laurence Olivier. Even the YouTube production set in the Civil War era, filmed entirely out of doors and changing Gloucester from a male to a female, is better than this benighted version.
Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
I'm in a Shakespeare course and this adaptation sticks pretty close to the text. It was helpful to watch what I was having trouble envisioning while reading. The acting is marvelous, but the production quality is disappointing. It is SO incredibly dark. Literally, not enough light. I watched this on a good television, my computer, an ipad, and in a dark room. It was so difficult to see the expressions due to the poor lighting. Also, the part of the story that takes place in a storm is ridiculous. The fake wind is so loud, you can barely hear the actors lines. That with the bad lighting, it felt a bit pointless. The fake snow didn't help. Too bad because the acting, of what I could see and hear, was brilliant.
The acting was awful. The soundtrack was horrible—it kept fading in and out. I wish I could have returned the film.It was a huge mistake to pay to see this one—spend neither your money nor your time on it.
When I came across this, I was delighted that it was recorded in the 60's or 70's. The amber duskiness...the low-lighting...the amateur audio...the shaky camera capturing awkwardly real shots... I was in nostalgia heaven. It has the vintage look and feel that is so endearing to me. I will admit that after the first episode I thought "This is SO ingeniously directed and SO beautifully acted....but this truly was a low budget if they couldn't afford to mount the shaky camera instead of hand-holding it while walking around..." HOWEVER, after a couple of more episodes, it dawned on me that, perhaps, the shakiness of a carried camera was intentional. It started to feel less like a program I was observing and more like I was actually there...moving...breathing...looking around with my own eyes and head and feet. I felt part of it, as though I were an unmentioned character. I thought "this was reality television decades before it was popular!" Haha! It was produced in 2017!!! I'm floored!
Truly, I am spellbound. The cast is perfect. I kept waiting for the inevitable let-down of a poorly chosen actor, and was delighted that each actor actually BECAME who they portrayed instead of simply relaying the lines to the listener.
I could go on, but I'll stop here. Just know it was spectacular, at least to me.
- Only a fool would wont other than truth, and no truth would be fooled by the wise... *thunder claps in the distance*
I have never seen more compelling, pointed, purposeful and cogent directing of a Shakespearean production. There should be nothing about any character or plot point that cannot be clearly understood by the viewer. How refreshing to be able to hear and understand the actors at a normal volume. For an indie film, several of the actors are very good and Alexander Barnett, as Lear, has a unique take on the character and delivers a stunning performance. That it is a low-budget film should not deter anyone who loves Shakespeare nor anyone who would like to be able to understand him without Cliff notes.