The Tempest

  • Film
  • Fantasy films
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If the Burning Man festival did Shakespeare, it might throw up something like this all-star adaptation, whose characters stride about in cyber-goth black leather, intermittently accompanied by heavy-metal guitar solos and bad-trip special effects. You expect Nicolas Cage to pop up from behind a sand dune on a Harley brandishing a rocket launcher. Sound and fury all but drown out a forceful performance by Helen Mirren as the usurped duke Prospero, exiled to a desert island – and recast here as a woman, Prospera, by director Julie Taymor (‘Frida’).

Mirren gamely appears in unkind close-ups without a scrap of vanity or make-up, at times autocratic and imperious, and elsewhere consumed with vengeance. The gender switch reeks of gimmickry, but Mirren performs compellingly and with conviction, as does Felicity Jones as 15-year-old Miranda; when mother looks at daughter, it’s as if she ruefully watches herself, before a lifetime of tribulation. Russell Brand – clearly believing Shakespeare has got nothing on his own oiky shtick – camps it up royally as jester Trinculo (‘On my troff, I said nuffink’), last seen with flaming CGI-ed hounds of hell in pursuit.

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday March 4 2011
Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Julie Taymor
Cast: Russell Brand
Felicity Jones
Djimon Hounsou
Helen Mirren
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