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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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This is a taut, sexy, and passionate film version of Othello, with brilliant performances from everyone.

Fishburne, especially, reminds us that Othello isn't just noble, honourable, grave as in some performances, but is also magnetic, powerful and overwhelmingly sexual. His screen presence is palpable, and he rarely has to raise his voice to make his point, simply fixes us with his unmoving and deadly gaze. His overwhelming love and desire for Desdemona is tangible without being excessive, and the switch from confidence to jealousy is superbly done.

Branagh is a compelling Iago, but the film subscribes to the idea that he is driven by a homoerotic desire for Othello which has never convinced me. The vow scene, especially, is played as a kind of twisted `marriage' between the two men.

The screenplay does take some liberties with Shakespeare's text and especially notable is the excision of the flirtatious banter between Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia and Iago on arrival at Cyprus, which serves to remove some of the agency from Desdemona's character. Similarly, the film removes the lines where Othello mentions Desdemona's speaking "dispraisingly" of him before she got to know him better, again removing some of her maturity and independence.

But these are small quibbles. Overall this is an excellent film of the play with powerful performances from everyone. If you're studying Othello, then this makes it brilliantly accessible, relevant and contemporary.
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on 12 March 2004
Branagh acts like Iago is the bloke down the pub everyone would confide in whilst Fishbourne is fantastic as Othello, very moving stuff. A few hollywood-esque fillers in the relationship between Iago and Othello that don't exist in the original text but nonetheless an enjoyable film. Worth comparing alongside Hopkins as Othello in the BBC 1991 version where he plays a far noisier, madder and arguably badder Othello whilst Penelope Wilton as an older Desdemona completely blows away this version of the tragic woman who seemed rather too innocent and school girl like.
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on 5 September 2000
Fishburne plays a strong brooding Othello, surprisingly for a hollywood actor he manages to refrain from too much overacting and puts in a good performance. Brannagh as ever is solid and his Iago is enjoyably reptillian. I would recommend this film as an interesting and exciting introduction to Shakespeare.
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on 22 April 2016
pretty good, but for my taste too much of the original was cut to make a watchable movie. it is a success as a movie, and it is true to the spirit of the play, but it is less nuanced than shakespeare intended. i think therefore the director achieved what he wanted, for which kudos, but it was not exactly what i wanted.
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on 18 June 2011
An excellent accompaniment to studying the text. However, I would suggest knowing the text first. There are some superb visual interpretations such as Iago's words over-riding a view of Cassio and Desdemona together reflected in his knife; Othello almost drowning Iago at one point. Fishburne is magnificent and much the most charismatic sexually magnetic Othello I have seen - and this makes the tragedy so much the more potent. However, vast chunks of the text are missing and there is some moving around of scenes. Visually and cinematically brilliant though. Highly recommended.
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on 15 March 2014
Only buy this if you speak Polish. the copy on the website looks English and says its English but it isn't. Check first.
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on 11 June 2016
Doesn't make clear that this is a Polish version - it is only the case that is in Polish but it worries you when you first open the package.
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on 11 July 2016
I love Brannagh's Iago, the rest I can take or leave but the venom pops off the s reenact in ever increasing ferocity. Awesome.
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on 28 August 2015
Brilliant movie, really enjoyed it. The acting was very good and the story line kept me watching. Would recommend. Thank you.
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on 28 February 2015
Fishburne great as Othello, of course Branagh is even greater! Good adaption of the play well worth watching.
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