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Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare knows how to throw a party.  

Year: 2013 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Joss Whedon 
Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz  
An image from Much Ado About Nothing

Not many directors would follow up an all-action superhero blockbuster with an adaptation of a much-loved Shakespeare play, but then Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble, Serentity) is not ‘most directors’. This simple but perfectly crafted film, which was shot in twelve days in Whedon’s home and stars a well-chosen ensemble of his frequently cast actors, is sure to be loved by both fans of the Bard and those whose only experience of Shakespeare was a few extracts studied in GCSE English.

Whedon’s bold stylistic choices – to shoot the film in black and white and to use the original Shakespearean script – juxtapose with the modern feeling of the film. From the first line; Leonardo’s “I learn in this letter that Don Peter of Arragon comes this night to Messina,” spoken while brandishing a mobile phone, the viewer knows that they are in for an odd experience, but one which somehow ticks all of the boxes.

The actors’ facial expressions and body language play a huge part in every scene; numerous inferences are made as Whedon ensures that despite the fanciful language, nothing feels out of touch with today. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker shine as bickering Benedick and Beatrice, stealing the show with their physical comedy and witticisms and the words of one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies ensure that this adaptation has many laughs in store.

On top of the fantastic acting and hilarious love story, there is much cinematic brilliance to be found within the film; in particular the outdoor masquerade party scene is beautifully shot, with glistening fairy lights, breathtaking dancers and the female guests’ dresses flowing elegantly in the breeze while mistaken identities and rumours abound.

Whedon clearly enjoyed making this film, which gives it a warm feeling, making it an utter joy to watch. The intimateness of the shoot makes it feel like a private soirée to which the viewer has been invited; so join the party and get swept up in Whedon’s unique and magical re-telling of Shakespeare’s genre-defining romantic comedy!

Kat Sroga

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Autumn Term (digital)
2013/2014 Autumn Term (digital)