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  • Much Ado About Nothing
    • Much Ado About Nothing
    • Runtime:111 min
    • Release Date:2016-12-05 07:30:44
    • Director: Kenneth Branagh
    • Genres: Comedy, Romance, War
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Much Ado About Nothing


Whether you enjoy it or not, it is a solid fact that William
Shakespeare was one of the best, if not the best, writer of all time.
His tragedies and comedies set so many milestones in storytelling, and
have continued to influence all creative mediums today, including film.
The man obviously had an influence on Kenneth Branagh, the director of
Much Ado About Nothing. This film is one of five Shakespeare film
adaptations that Branagh has directed. It is about two lovers, Claudio
(Robert Sean Leonard) and Hero (Kate Beckinsale) who are to be married
in one week. To pass the time they devise a "love trap" for two of
their family members. One is an arrogant and yet bumbling bachelor
named Benedict (Kenneth Branagh) and the other is the strong willed and
witty Beatrice (Emma Thompson). But in the midst of it all a man by the
name of Don Jon (Keanu Reeves) conspires to stop the wedding. Overall
the film is lighthearted, simple, and fun. However, it retains a much
more sophisticated eloquence that definitely sets it apart from other
films equally as lighthearted as it.

When you're script is a word for word adaptation of the Shakespeare
play, it is obvious you are going to have a fantastic story with great
dialouge. There is just no denying that Shakespeare was a genius and
comparatively had hardly any flaws in his work. The trick for a film
adaptation of his play is to provide excellent visual aesthetics that
will match the eloquence of the script. Branagh hits his mark
excellently here. The film is something beautiful to look at. In every
shot and every location it is obvious a lot of care and attention was
put into making this film look as pretty as it sounds. The sets are
beautifully designed, as well as the costumes which are all very
consistent and fitting for the medieval time period. Branagh's
direction is also top notch and he excels at being able to transform a
script written for the stage into a very full on-screen experience.
Branagh makes sure to put a lot of emphasis on the actors, since the
characters are where the central focus of this story lies. But when he
is not honing in on his actors he is utilizing fantastic tracking shots
that show off the gorgeous sets and artistic design that went into
them. The visual and audible aspects of this film thankfully lock
together perfectly.

As I said before there is a lot of emphasis on the actors in this film,
and while the majority of the acting is well above par, there is a
noticeable issue with it overall, but it is something almost out of the
directors control. Shakespeare is not easy to act believably. The kind
of acting necessary to make Shakespeare feel real as opposed to cheesy
is in a league of its own. It has a lot to do with the dialect and
style in which his work is written, which is obviously hundreds of
years old and far different from how we speak today. It is because of
this extremely specific acting style the actors must utilize to pull
off these characters that we see a differentiation in the acting
ability of the cast. In other words, we can tell who is a well versed
Shakespearian actor and who is not. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson
are the shining stars of this film and it is very obvious that this
style of acting is their field of expertise. It is a place where they
feel comfortable and can truly act the part without forcing it in the
Shakespearian dialect. Then we have other actors like Robert Sean
Leonard and Denzel Washington who, despite being great in this film,
are not actors of the same caliber when it comes to Shakespeare. I just
couldn't believe Leonard and Washington as much as I did Branagh and
Thompson, but it certainly doesn't mean they weren't very good in the
film. And then of course at the bottom of the barrel we have Keanu
Reeves who I won't even get started on. All I will say is that watching
Reeves try to act Shakespeare is a painful experience.

Much Ado About Nothing is definitely a very good film. It is very well
made and, for the most part, very well acted. Watching a movie directly
adapted from a Shakespeare play without removing any of the dialect of
the time period is a breath of fresh air from your typical 21st century
writing style. Now I will say on a more personal note that the story in
Much Ado About Nothing, while very well written, is not exactly my cup
of tea. Shakespeare only wrote in two genres… tragedy, and comedy.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of the latter, so obviously it is very
happy-go-lucky. My personal taste leans towards the darker tragedies
that Shakespeare wrote, so I personally would recommend one of those
before Much Ado About Nothing, but the film, for what it is, is still
very good.


Actually I've always been a fan of Shakespeare, but this movie took it
to a whole new level. I found this quite by accident (flipping through
channels and stopping when I wondered what were Denzel Washington AND
Robert Sean Leonard doing in the same flick) On the whole, what I love
about this movie is how natural the dialogue and setting are; none of
the stilted portrayals I've come to associate with Shakespeare. For me,
the biggest treat in this movie is basically any scene with Branagh and
Thompson. Branagh IS Benedick, with all of his arrogance, bravado and
chivalry. Thompson plays a beautiful and fiery Beatrice, and brings
across the most believable portrayal I've seen of a Shakespeare
heroine. Beckinsale and Leonard do a good job as Hero and Claudio.
Although I know that Leonard gets some flak for his acting here, I
think he brings across the impulsive and rash nature of his character
well enough. Keaton and Washington are okay in their roles; I didn't
find Keaton that distracting as Dogberry. Reeves could have done a
little better in fleshing out his character–he's the reason for the
9/10 here.


This is a wonderful presentation of the immortal bard to the popular
audience. A consistently brilliant cast and exuberant direction balance
the unfortunate tendency to edit the original script which many movies
seem to thing essential to give Shakespeare mass appeal. Apart from the
slapstick of the watch (Michael Keaton and Ben Elton) there is little
which was not clearly apparent in the original play.

The breadth of the sets and the unrestrained romance in the music
finish off the glorious feel this film has throughout.

Possible the finest romantic comedy of all time with the possible
exception of Twelth Night.

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