Movie Review by Dr Kuma
Starring: Richard Harris, Lynn Redgrave, Tom Bell, Emma Catherwood, Aidan Gillen, Jimi Mistry
Director: Don Boyd
There have been several ways that the Bard has been rehashed for the ‘now’ generation over recent years (Baz Lehman’s ROMEO & JULIET, the forthcoming O, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM etc, etc) but none have come as close to the actual bare bones of the source material like the new film by Don Boyd. It is specifically because the film’s source derives from KING LEAR that the harshness and the down right nasty side of the bard are graphically illustrated as they are brought to the screen.
The story, in a nutshell:
Sanderman (an absolutely brilliant Richard Harris) is the biggest and most feared crime lord in the economically deprived Liverpool, but the unexpected murder of his wife means that the empire he has built literally crumbles around his feet and he becomes obsessed with the fact that the murder was premeditated and that someone is out to get him. The only people he can trust are his family. Or so he thinks….
This really is a beautifully acted film. The entire cast is superb. It’s hard to pick one out. Even those in smaller roles are memorable, but Harris really does command the stage so to speak. This is a great West End performance transferred onto the silver screen. His quiet anger is almost palatable. The only thing that leaves a bad taste in your mouth is the violence, but, as I’ve mentioned, most of the really horrible scenes are transferred directly from the Shakespearian text from which they originated. But, if thine eyes offend thee…look away.
The screenplay by Don Boyd and Nick Davies is a triumph. I recommend that if this film plays in your area you go and see it, just to help you realise that the world in which gangsters and villains live has changed little over the years, only the tools and the subject of their trade differ from then to now.
Dr Kuma’s verdict: The entire film is summed up in the famous quote that the film takes its title from. Where a desperate man, once having his world at his feet, would trade anything to escape from the situation he now finds himself in and give up everything he has fought to create, just to find he wants to escape from it all. Brilliant.