41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Irreverent, yet stunningly true to the SPIRITof the original,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tempest [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was dragged, kicking & screaming, to this film the first time I saw it. Staggeringly enough, I wound up being utterly captivated. While the film most closely resembles a fantasia on themes from Shakespeare's play, its spirit is so at one with the original I don't think anyone but the most literal-minded purist could possibly object. With appallingly limited means, but a virtually limitless visual imagination, Jarman creates a true world of wonder. There are moments of stunning beauty throughout -- Miranda's vision of herself as a child, Ferdinand dragging himself naked from the sea and staggering, half-drowned, along the shore -- and magnificent character choices -- Karl Johnson's still, sad-faced Ariel, Jack Birkett's egg-sucking, North Country Caliban, Heathcote Williams' youthful, vigorous, anarchic Prospero. All crowned, however, by an indescribably joyous "wedding masque" -- a loopy sailors dance followed by Elizabeth Welch sweeping in, all in gold, to sing (what else?)"Stormy Weather" as the entire cast practically melts in bliss. Only certain segments of Fellini's "The Clowns" have ever made me catch my breath the way I did repeatedly during this film. Made on a shoestring, this film is a triumph of wit & imagination. I tear up just thinking about it.