Richard II 2013 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(49) IMDb 8.4/10
Available in HD

From executive producer Sam Mendes, King Richard II tells the classic story of murder and revenge that led to the fall of England's royal family.

Starring:
Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear
Runtime:
2 hours 29 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Richard II

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Rupert Goold
Starring Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear
Supporting actors Daniel Boyd, Peter De Jersey, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Goodman-Hill, Harry Hadden-Paton, Tom Hughes, Ferdinand Kingsley, Rory Kinnear, Isabella Laughland, Finbar Lynch, Rhodri Miles, David Morrissey, Lucian Msamati, Clémence Poésy, James Purefoy, Samuel Roukin, Adrian Schiller, Patrick Stewart
Studio NBC Universal
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

They (The Hollow Crown) films really bring Shakespeare to life.
Marc Robinson
The supporting cast is excellent, The direction and cinematography are great.
blainerunner69
Ben Whishaw did an absolutely beautiful portrayal of King Richard II.
LM1

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S. Craig on September 6, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Richard II is one of Shakespeare's lesser-known history plays, but it sets up the Henry IV plays with Richard's abdication after Henry Bolingbroke returns from banishment to challenge his authority. There is actually not much action, either on or off screen; Richard halts a duel midway through to exile the knights, and the army Bolingbroke amasses in order to take on Richard just stands around while Richard relinquishes his throne. To make up for this, the team behind this production has some really lovely set pieces, interesting set direction and creative cinematography. And of course, you have the actors holding your attention. I didn't find a weak link in the bunch, though it helps when even your minor players are people like Patrick Stewart, David Suchet and James Purefoy. Rory Kinnear does a nice turn as Bolingbroke, his words coming trippingly off the tongue very much in the style of Branagh. Still, his character is more of the strong, silent type, doing more reacting to Richard, who has most of the long-winded dialogue in the play. Which brings us to the lead, Ben Whishaw.

I enjoyed him in supporting roles in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall, and as Keats in Bright Star, but this performance really showcases his talent. His Richard clearly enjoys power; he's a boy-king who indulges whims, sometimes simpering in the style of Humperdinck in the Princess Bride, but then cruelly cutting off old friends or taking gold from a dead man's house. He's a performer, he's a speech-maker, but when it comes to defending his throne, you see how he is not a soldier. After his capture, the council brings him back to have him officially hand over his title, and his performance is wonderful: mostly playing drama-queen, but with flashes of cold anger.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on September 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
There are few film representations of this play (only 2 it seems). This fact is a pity, because when someone gets ahold of this play - really gets ahold of the meat of it - this meditation on the events leading up to and including the deposition of Richard II are truly impressive. Derek Jacobi was superb in the otherwise humdrum version of the play filmed by the BBC in the late '70s/early '80s, but Ben Whishaw surpasses Jacobi's performance. Rory Kinnear plays a sympathetic, softer Bolingbroke - an interesting choice, but one that works with Whishaw's inspired performance. David Suchet also shines as the Duke of York.

Although Richard II contains less stage action than many of Shakespeare's other history plays, the they-know-not-what-they-have-wrought contemplation of the play is profound discussion on the legitimacy of kingship, particularly as a prelude to the plays that follow it.

For those leery of Shakespearean language, the performances in this version are strong enough to lend easy understanding to the gist of the words. Give it a try.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BS Detector on September 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This was phenomenally well acted, paced, and photographed. I need to say more words before my review is accepted, so here you go. I thoroughly recommend this adaptation of the play.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By medievalnerd on December 12, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Some of Shakespeare's most gorgeous poetry, a heartbreaking meditation on the rights and responsibilities of a king and his subjects. Here the play is intelligently adapted and filmed with a formalism and beauty that suits the material (Rupert Goold directs).

Ben Whishaw (accompanied by a pet monkey!) inhabits the character of the frivolous but articulate monarch so completely that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. The other characters, played by superb actors, swirl around him with increasing agitation, but Richard is the center of the play's gravity and remains so to his tragic end. (At first I wrote that he was the "center of the play's energy," but that's not quite it: he seems to inhabit time differently from the other characters, as if time slows down when it gets close to him.)

Nonetheless, I have reservations about this adaptation. All the hagiography (visuals connecting Richard to Christ and St Sebastian) contribute to the film's beauty, but they also impose a Richard-as-martyr interpretation that reduces the richness of Shakespeare's treatment of politics in this play. A lighter touch would have made the allusions more powerful and also given the audience enough critical distance to see how Richard's self-representation is relativized by the point of view of all the other characters.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Decalo on March 23, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
In Richard II, we watch a king collapse, a human battle to find himself or recognize himself beyond his kingship, and a cauldron of desperate, seething familial relations mixed with politics--as the usurper himself is the king's cousin, Henry. There's humanity in each person's struggle. And the battle inside your soul is where Shakespeare really plants his arrow. And it hurts. And it should.

But this production didn't hurt in that good way, of challenging with opposite truths, painful truths and their costs.

Yes, there are gorgeous performances here. Excellent focus on (Rory Kinnear's) Henry Bolingbroke's reactions to Richard every step of the way. Beautifully done, strongly done. Lucian Msamati's Bishop of Carlisle: awesome power. The acting isn't where the fault lies.

Here are the problems:

1) The evocative Christ metaphors in Shakespeare's language, which flit by and accrue more naturally in speech, are here represented VERY heavy-handedly. Like treacle, like sludge, pasted on our faces, burying us. More trust could have been given the text and the audience. Let Richard's pain, the flux, and Henry's burden speak for themselves. But no.

All productions make choices, cuts, emphases. They want to shape, to interpret. Okay. The above is a legitimate choice. I hate it. It undercuts the power, equivocation and resonance of the play. But it's a legitimate choice.

The next two problems are not.

2) Why in the name of unprintable curses, did they change Richard's killer? What the-? This isn't merely a cut or new metaphor. This is an assault on the writing, on the story itself, and on character. It's a director's statement made over Shakespeare's dead, protesting body. (Yes, I went there.) (Yes, I'd go there again.
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