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Twelfth Night/Macbeth (1997-2003)

Cast: Sean Pertwee, Greta Scacchi, Parminder K. Nagra, more...
Director: Michael Bogdanov
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment, Homevision
Genre: Drama, Foreign, British Drama, Shakespeare, UK
Languages: English
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Macbeth (1997)
William Shakespeare's famous "Scottish play" gets a new and updated look in this version produced for British television. Macbeth (Sean Pertwee), a brave and bloodthirsty man, has aspirations to political power, and at the urgings of his wife (Greta Scacchi), Macbeth murders Duncan (Philip Madoc) in hopes that this will help ease his way to being crowned King. While Macbeth does win the crown, his gruesome path to leadership comes back to haunt him. Director Michael Bogdanov and producer Sue Pritchard set Shakespeare's historical tragedy against the backdrop of a decaying industrial metropolis, with the characters wearing modern dress that suggests modern-day intrigue among genteel criminals, rather than warring factions in 11th century Scotland. Macbeth was a co-production of the English Shakespeare Company and the British television network Channel 4. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Twelfth Night (2003)
This classic Shakespeare comedy of disguise and mistaken identity follows twins Viola and Sebastian, asylum seekers who are separated and washed up on the strange island of Illyria -- a contemporary multicultural London dreamscape that is both soulful and sensual, yet dark and dangerous. Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) star in this story about the loneliness of exile, the pain of loss, and the madness of love in this contemporary screen adaptation of Twelfth Night.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Macbeth (1997)
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6.00 (6 votes)
Twelfth Night (2003)
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6.33 (12 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Shakespeare, Sweet and Melancholic by talltale March 23, 2005 - 12:42 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I am not sure just what it is about TWELFTH NIGHT that makes it so difficult to mess up. Whether as movie or play, it's as close to a sure thing as Shakespeare ever wrote. I can't recall any production I have seen that didn't offer at least something worthwhile, and this new version--filmed probably for British or Scot television in 2003--boasts much more than that. Heavier on melancholy than most, it showcases a wonderful cast that's new to me (except for Parminder Nagra from "Bend It Like Beckham," Chiwetel Ejiofor from "Dirty Pretty Things" and Michael Maloney-- who makes a superb Malvolio).

Director Tim Supple (who also co-adapted) has set this in modern dress, and here the modern angle works terrifically well. Having the roles of Viola and Sebastian played by East Indians is also a smart move, adding a layer of Britain's colonial history to the mix. As well as I already know the play, I was often surprised at how Supple's visual choices uncovered new meaning to the script. And, as ever, the revealing of identities and mutual bonding at play's end moves us all over again. I think this sad and lovely version might be a good place for beginners to start--and confirmed 12th Night-lovers to continue their study.

"Mac" on the Quick by talltale January 29, 2005 - 1:01 PM PST
0 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Produced for British TV nearly a decade ago, this pared-down and relatively fast-moving (for Shakespeare) adaptation of MACBETH is a modern dress/tanks-and-armor version that works rather well. The Brit cast clearly knows how to recite (and give life to) the Bard's words, and Sean Pertwee and Greta Scacchi are fine as literature's nasty/wishy-washy Mr. and Mrs. Never my favorite of Willy's works (nice language, little depth of character), this version didn't make me a fan, either. But if there must be more Macs (and don't you suspect there will?), this is certainly a good place on which the youth of the English-speaking world can cut its collective teeth. Best modern-day touch: the three witches as bag ladies. Favorite silly scene: Lady Macduff and her sons confront the bad guys. Best overall scene: Duncan's heir and Macduff discuss kingly behavior.

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Shakespeare on DVD at GreenCine, annotated
It's hard to search for Shakespeare plays, so this list as of 12/07 may help. Alphabetized by main word in title; renamed adaptations such as Throne of Blood are mentioned but not listed. To see GC's own list, click any 'Shakespeare'-as-genre link.
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