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Friday, October 1, 2010

THE TEMPEST

By D.E.Levine

2010 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: William Shakespeare (original play), Julie Taymor (screenplay)
Cast: Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Albert Molina, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Ben Whishaw, Felicity Jones, Tom Conti et al.
Producers: Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Jason K. Lau, Julia Taylor-Stanley and Julie Taymor
Executive Producers: Ronald M. Bozman, John C. Ching, Rohit Kattar, Deborah Y. Lau and Greg Strasburg
Co-executive producer: Beaux Carson
Original Music: Elliot Goldenthal
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Fantasy

It may be a 400 year old play but Julie Taymor has put a new spin on it by making the lead a woman named Prospera.

Although Taymor has directed The Tempest on stage, this proves to be a bit of a weakness since she attempts to use stage direction for the film and it doesn't quite work.

Casting Helen Mirren as the female Prospera, a part always male (Prospero) in previous productions seems a bit strange to everyone familiar with the story.

The basic story is about an exiled wizard living on a desolate island and obsessively protecting her daughter from the world (which is actually the only other island inhabitant).

However, by changing the main character from a male usurped duke to a deposed female causes a diminishing in the tension that normally exists between Prospero and the daughter.

The tension never intensifies in this version and the film remains somewhat lukewarm despite a talented cast and a reknowned play.