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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances, but low budget
If you are looking for amazing special effects, then this isn't the one for you. Unsurprisingly, throught the film there is an intense feeling of a tight budget. However, with the performances inside, it hardly matters.

I had the fortune to see this while it was at the New London Theatre. None of the magic created by the actors is lost in the film - Romola...
Published on 14 Oct 2008 by Richard Kirwan

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Strong Performance... bar Edmund
It's a really strong performance, although the televised nature of the DVD does detract somewhat from the original stage performance. However, given that this is to be expected, the overall film is good.
McKellan's Lear is unique and visceral, whilst retaining the gentleness and moving qualities that are essential in the protagonist. However, at times, his...
Published on 19 Mar 2009 by V. Stephenson


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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances, but low budget, 14 Oct 2008
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
If you are looking for amazing special effects, then this isn't the one for you. Unsurprisingly, throught the film there is an intense feeling of a tight budget. However, with the performances inside, it hardly matters.

I had the fortune to see this while it was at the New London Theatre. None of the magic created by the actors is lost in the film - Romola Garai (Cordelia) is stunning, Frances Barber (Goneril) is absolutely wonderful with perfect timing and a voice to match, Monica Dolan and William Gaunt (Regan and Gloucester) are brilliant, but the shining lights are Sylvester McCoy and Ian McKellen, as the Fool and Lear. McCoy plays a hilarious, spoon-playing fool, and there is a great sympathy towards the character, making his fall incredibly tragic. And McKellen is pitch perfect. His performance as the great King is the definitive version.

There are many more visually stunning versions of this on film, but performance wise, it doesn't get better. I'm inclined to say that if you're studying the text in class, it's probably the best bet. It's very close to the stage production, and isn't inhibited or enhanced by large sets or costumes.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Towering performance, 20 July 2009
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
King Lear is a mountain of a part to play. Ian McKellen's recent RSC performance was a triumph, both in the UK and on tour and this is a DVD of the production. With a terrific cast (including Romola Garai and William Gaunt) and wonderful staging, this was one of the most eagerly awaited productions for many years and it is great to have this piece of work on permanent record. So why only 4 stars? Well, simply because it is almost impossible to make plays impressive on screen. While this is a good attempt, what seemed lively on stage, appears far more static on screen - this is not the fault of the cast or the direction, but simply a reflection that something gets lost in the process. But it is still the best version of this great play that is available on DVD and well worth owning.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar Cast and Incredible Production!, 3 Oct 2008
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Louis E. Sather (Madison, Wisconsin United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
I was fortunate to see the RSC's stage production of "King Lear" twice during it's World Tour stop in Minneapolis and Ian McKellan was impressive to say the least. His command of the role kept me on the edge of my seat. I was also impressed with the performances of Frances Barber, Romola Garai and Sylvester McCoy, all of whom held their own very well when on-stage with McKellan. Having this production preserved on DVD is a real treat. My only disappointment is they didn't also record "The Seagull", which used most of the same cast and was running with "King Lear" in repertoire.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Lear, 21 April 2010
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
I can only say that when Shakespeare wrote King Lear, he had this performance in mind. McKellen is magnificent, but so is the rest of the cast. I never saw a better Goneril and Edmund truly gets under your skin. I recommend this DVD wholeheartedly to anyone who loves Shakespeare.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Strong Performance... bar Edmund, 19 Mar 2009
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V. Stephenson (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
It's a really strong performance, although the televised nature of the DVD does detract somewhat from the original stage performance. However, given that this is to be expected, the overall film is good.
McKellan's Lear is unique and visceral, whilst retaining the gentleness and moving qualities that are essential in the protagonist. However, at times, his performance can, I think overtake the actual text itself - it's quite hard to understand what he's saying at times. Nevertheless, another astounding achievement from McKellan.
Edmund, on the other hand, is pretty rubbish. I think his portrayal of a psychopathic brother is legitimate, but his acting of the part is far too over the top. It's essential that a portrayal of Edmund as insane be conducted with subtlety, and this guy certainly doesn't do that.
Luckily, Frances Barber is spectacular as Goneril - she's obviously evil, but with a depth that expands the role very effectively. Romola Garai is a good and moving Cordelia, without being two-dimensional, and Sylvester McCoy's Fool is an excellent portrayal.
Ben Meyjes is a fantastic Edgar, almost stealing the show. His madness is wonderfully portrayed, and the complexities of his character are constantly held throughout his performance, with his aiding of Gloucester's fall an incredibly moving scene.
Overall, a very very good production, and well worth seeing... just.. try not to let Edmund irritate you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion and intelligence, 1 May 2011
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Sognatrice (Melbourne Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
Trevor Nunn treats the text of this play with much more respect than he treated that of Twelfth Night (with Bonham Carter et al), and he allows his superb cast to expose the heart of this most challenging of tragedies with passion and subtlety, in a setting reasonably free from details that would undermine its universality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Lear, 27 Feb 2011
This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
Great version-- not something I'd recommend for someone who just wanted a film to watch, as it's long, involved and occasionally gruelling (of course, that's kinda the point of a tragedy). But Ian McKellen is excellent, and the daughters (Goneril and Regan) are better in this version than in any other I've seen. Good price for a great DVD.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all who were not able to see it on stage, 25 Jun 2009
This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
Because of an unfortunate foot injury I wasn't able to see this play live on stage in London. But this DVD gives the chance to see this fantastic performance 'nearly live'.
It is an amazing play with amazing actors, especially Ian McKellen as Lear. And it is definitely worth to watch.

As extra there is a 30 minutes interview with Ian McKellen on the DVD. He talks about King Lear and it is very interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Version, 9 Aug 2010
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This review is from: King Lear [DVD] (DVD)
I enjoyed this and feel it's worth watching whatever your ideas about how the play should be performed. It's colourful and there are some good performances and ideas in it. There's a good interview with Ian Mckellan as well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Lear, 22 Feb 2010
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This review is from: King Lear (Blu Ray) [2008] [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
A great production, Ian McKellen give a performance that subtly sways between Lear's former majesty and his oncoming senility while Sylvester McCoy plays the Fool with heartfelt sympathy for his degenerating king. The rest of the cast are unfortunately outshone by these two central performances with the exceptions of the loyal Kent played by Johnathan Hyde and the devious Edmond played by Philip Winchester. The production design is pretty basic so stylistically this doesn't compare to the RSC's recent production of Hamlet however those looking for a traditional Shakespeare production will not go far wrong here. The blu-ray version does not add much to the overall quality but at the time of my purchasing happened to be cheaper than the DVD copy therefore if you have the player then there is little to put you off getting this edition.
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