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Love For The One Who Hates The Moor
on March 29, 2015
The main strength of this film version of Shakespeare's "Othello, the Moor of Venice" is its acting performances. Lawrence Fishburne conveys the complex naivete (Is that an oxymoron?) of the title character, and Irene Jacob radiates the innocence and beauty one associates with Desdemona. However, the best acting performance of all is Kenneth Branagh as Iago. His performance, more than anything else, makes this version compelling if flawed. Many have argued (as I would) that the play really is more about Iago than Othello, and Branagh's performance really is the emotional center of this film. Whether or not the director intended it that way, I don't know. But it really is the best thing about this film.
My main criticism of this version is that I got the feeling, at times, that the director was trying to make a noir melodrama. At least, that's what the cinematography, lighting and time can make it seem. Sometimes I wondered whether the director trusted the emotional power of the play or the actors' performances, which are more than enough to make this film worth watching--and the reasons why I've shown it to several of my classes.