Film Review: The Tempest

2010 - 110 minutes

Directed by Julie Taymor. Starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand and Felicity Jones. Review by Georgina Cotton

When Shakespeare wrote, ‘we are such stuff as dreams are made on’, he could never have anticipated the theatrical showdown that is the product of producer Julie Taymor’s vivid imagination.

With Helen Mirren playing the omnipresent Prospera (note: female) teaching her shipwrecked brother a moral lesson, and Russell Brand as the intoxicated Trinculo, The Tempest was inevitably going to be a colourful – if bizarre – affair.

At first glance, a slow start and fair amount of barren landscape means that one may cry to dream of making a quick exit. Shakespeare is Shakespeare and light-hearted though the film may be, there is no escaping the fact it was designed as a play.

Despite this, the pace soon picks up and Taymor leads us into a surreal kaleidoscope of a film, complete with bursts of bedazzling special effects and a dramatic, often comical, set of theme music.

The story pivots around the enchanting Prospera, who Mirren plays with a powerful sense of femininity. Meanwhile, Trinculo and his cross-dressing, monster-raving trio may be entertaining but we see nothing from Brand himself other than his eccentric ego.

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The film suffers from a spattering of dizzying close-ups and lacklustre sub-plots but The Tempest does manage to bring to life what is often experienced only on paper, putting a very modern twist on a traditional English treasure.

In cinemas March 4.

Star rating: 2 out of 5 stars.