Thursday, 17 April 2008

Forgotten: JULIE TAYMOR's "Titus"

Released in 1999, Julie Taymor's visually and viscerally striking adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy Titus Andronicus is an overlooked work which came in for ample criticism during its release balanced in equal part with praise for its acting and visuals.

Adhering closely to the original material, the film follows a cycle of vengeance between the families of the Roman General Titus Andronicus(Anthony Hopkins) and the Queen of the Goths Tamora (Jessica Lange) though the ending does veer from the bleak original in favour of a more optimistic future.

This was Taymor's cinematic debut after work on Broadway which garnered her considerable acclaim for her adapatation of The Lion King. Her subsequent films include the Frida Kahlo biopic Frida and Across the Universe though for me, I can't help but yearn for her to apply the same daring and skill of Titus to something new.

Being Shakespeare's bloodiest play, the film itself is a bruising experience with violence suitably used at key moments in the story accenting another turn of the gears of vengeance. With a fascinating melange of postmodern imagery, fine acting and a storyline all too relevant to the modern world, it isn't perfect but certainly worthy of attention.

Now is a time to storm - Elsie Walker (Literature Film Quarterly)
Titus review (BFI)
Titus Wiki
Julie Taymor Wiki

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