Much Ado About Nothing (2012)


(out of 5)

Joss Whedon relaxed between bouts of tackling The Avengers by quickly filming a black and white, unadorned production of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays at his home using actors familiar to his universe.  The result is his strongest cinematic effort yet, an intelligent, romantic caprice about the fickle nature of passion in the face of tests of loyalty among friends and family.  Dapper Benedick (Alexis Denisov) is always at odds with sassy Beatrice (Amy Acker) and the two always bicker in each others’ presence, which experience tells us means they can’t wait to get married to each other.  Meanwhile, her sweet young cousin Hero is in love with Claudio, who has recently arrived with Benedick as part of the prince’s train and has asked for her hand in marriage.  Unfortunately, also staying at this lovely sun-kissed villa is the prince’s evil brother, who makes a mess of things that eventually results in broken hearts, a faked death and the possibility that our two protagonists might split for good.  What a terrible waste that would be, considering the wonderful chemistry these two share, particularly in light of Acker’s masterful performance (the film’s genuine highest point).  Some of Denisov’s line readings feel forced and mechanical, but he always has the right bearing for the character and performs the physical humour with stupendous success.  Whedon’s dead-on pruning of the dialogue provides for an efficient and energetic production, aided beautifully by direction that makes it laugh-out-loud funny.

Bellwether Pictures

USA, 2012

Directed by

Screenplay by Joss Whedon, based on the play by

Cinematography by

Produced by , Joss Whedon

Music by Joss Whedon

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by , Joss Whedon

National Board of Review Awards 2013.

Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2013.  

Toronto International Film Festival 2012

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