Being 18, I have grown up with movies which feed you the story: movies where you don't really have to think too hard. This BBC adaptation of King Lear is not one of those movies. You have to work at it, you've got to listen, you've got to think pretty hard the whole way through. I watched the whole film in three separate instalments, which is probably the best way to do it unless you've got lots of stamina.
It's still an absolutely fantastic film, and very true to the text. In many ways, it is exactly as I imagine it, except for the eerie bland setting.
Michael Hordern is a superb Lear. It's an immensely difficult role, one of the most complex in all of Shakespeare - finding a balance between strength and weakness is seemingly impossible, but Hodern pulls it off with surprising talent, given his age.
However, I think that Gillian Barge and Penelope Wilton steal the show as Goneril and Regan. The pair of them portray the vicious sisters so convincingly that their performances alone make this film well worth seeing. Their cruelty and greed is conveyed which a calibre of acting that has sadly been lost in this generation of film. Furthermore, you can actually feel bonds between these two sisters, which makes the whole film a lot more real.
A number of scenes deserve special mention. Gloucester's blinding is bloody spectacular. His tortured screams were so realistic that I wanted to murder Wilton in revenge, who played Regan here with pure malice.Read more ›