The Tempest (2010)

In Classic Story, film, Review, supernatural on 16/11/2011 at 11:58 pm

You basically want to watch this because Helen Mirren is brilliant as Prospera and you love Shakespeare. If you don’t like those two beautiful people, don’t bother.

This recent adaptation of the 400 year old story of the Duke of Milan – a sorcerer called Prospero – who has been exiled to a remote island with his daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones). Here, the Duke became Dutchess: Prospera, magnificently portrayed by Mirren. Her performance is honest, forceful and balanced, as William would have wanted it to be. Prospera makes a ship containing all her enemies strand on her shore by creating a tempest, thus intending to restore her daughter to her rightful place by marrying her to Ferdinand (Reeve Carney), the son of the King of Napels. Prospera is aided by the enslaved airy spirit Ariel, very charmingly and convincingly brought by Ben Wishaw. Though to my knowledge everyone agreed upon Ariel being male, he sometimes appears to be hermaphrodite.

The language has been for the greatest part left intact by writer and director Julie Taymor and it works well. But there are some reasons you might find certain parts of this production somewhat tiresome, and most of them will be related to Russell Brand as an annoying joker type called Trinculo whose Shakespearean abilities are questionable, Reeve Carney who is the soppiest prince Ferdinand in existence, and depending on your taste, Djimon Hounsou who does a savage slave Caliban that’s a wee bit over the top if you ask me. Also, the costumes are a bit too funky for their time. However well made and classically cut, that many zips combined with all the special effects make it look more like sci-fi than the early 17th century.

Big yes for Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Ben Wishaw and William Shakespeare. No to the rest of it.


  1. Russell Brand? For. Fuck’s. Sake. Honestly! The rest sounds good though. And I quite like The Tempest as a play…

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