The fall of an empire. The descent of man.
|Running Time:||160 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35:1 (Scope)|
|Certificate:||- Not suitable for under 18s.|
|Subtitles||The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC|
Titus, an adaptation of Shakespeare's goriest play, Titus Andronicus, is one of the latest in a long line of films to add a new and provocative twist to the works of the old master. Recently we have had Baz Luhrman's excellent Romeo and Juliet, Branagh's Love Labours Lost and Michael Almereyda's Hamlet. Titus, though, stands as a landmark in the career of Shakespeare, being his earliest play and perhaps his most challenging.
The dark tragedy opens with the great Roman general, Titus Andronicus (Hopkins), returning home from war with the Goths, weary and worn but ultimately victorious. As was the tradition in the ancient world, the victorious general makes a ritual human sacrifice to the gods, thanking them for their assistance and making his success their own. His sacrifice is one of the prisoners of war, the eldest son of Queen Tamora (Lange). His act begins a vicious cycle of revenge that makes up the main body of the plot, as the corrupt Saturnius (Cumming) becomes Emperor and, strangely, takes Tamora as his bride and queen. A new battle now erupts as Titus and Tamora enact their grisly revenge.
In its day, Titus Andronicus provoked both the consternation and dismay of its audience, challenging the conception of human nature with its heightened drama, graphic violence and latent dark humour. Julie Taymor had stated in her production notes that what she saw in Titus Andronicus, which she had already adapted for the stage in 1995, was the gauntlet being thrown down. Shakespeare was openly engaging with his audience, his youthful energy tapping into the ancient world where violent revenge, murder, racism, and relentless horror and war were established occurrences. Thus the motion picture, Titus, realigns the play's dark themes placing them in the modern-world where teenage gang rape, ethnic cleansing and genocide are also established occurrences that seem both inevitable and unlikely to shock.
Titus is without doubt a success. A new and innovative twist on the play's original style is fused with the exquisite performance of Anthony Hopkins, who revels in his role as the commmander who tastes insanity and finally, grisly revenge. Taymor's production is both menacing and tenacious in its questioning of the roots of violence. Its forceful and unrelenting hand pushes the audience into judging the acts that occur, slowly heightening the drama and making the tragedy more complex at every turn. Watch with caution, but behold the magnificence of Hopkins and the timelessness of Shakespeare.
Screenings of this film:
|2000/2001 Summer Term - 19:00 Wednesday 25th April 2001|