The film begins by showing a beautiful nighttime scene in the canals of Venice as gondolas float past. It is clear from this first appearance that the film will attempt to authentically recreate the play as Shakespeare would have imagined it happening. The first part of the play is shot in Venice, showing off stunning works of Venetian architecture. This gives the audience a feeling of actually being present in the medieval city. Adding to this sense of authenticity are the costumes worn by the actors. This is most apparent with the Duke, as his robes, dyed a gentle blue color and beautifully inlaid with gold embroidery create an antiquated sense of wealth and importance. Othello’s costume is also well thought out, wearing in the opening scenes a simple white shirt with a black leather vest underneath a red and black cape. This wardrobe is more functional than stylish and brings to mind Othello’s military background. The film also relies heavily on the acting from the actors. Specifically, Kenneth Branagh is amazing in his role of Iago. He deliv...
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...ene to scene, and though it’s a heavily condensed version, it still functions as a work of Shakespeare.
Oliver Parker’s film adaptation of “Othello” relies heavily on visual aspects such as costumes, setting and the actors’ abilities, depicts the characters somewhat differently than the play, and adds scenes while deleting dialogue. The film tries to stay true to Shakespeare’s original work while also adapting it to a modern movie format. Though some of the essence of Shakespeare is lost, the film does a good job of taking a very long play and turning it into an overall successful movie. The attention to detail with the visual aspects of the movie, plus some outstanding acting and successful portrayals of characters stands as true strengths of this film, even if it remains impossible to perfectly capture every aspect of a great work such as Shakespeare’s “Othello.”
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