OK, so we all know that Othello ends with a mountain of bodies, so once we realise early on that the filmmakers here are sincere about Shakespeare's plotline, we know it will not end happily. And this is the most remarkable thing about this film: It's willingness to stay rooted in a serious story, fleshing out the characters and looking at awkward teen issues like racism, class snobbery, peer pressure, the way sports has overpowered the education system, and even gun control. This isn't to say the film is a humourless slog; it bristles with real life, passion, comedy, the give and take of teen relationships. In other words, it's such a good adaptation of the story that you almost felt it was written for this environment! The young cast is very good, even if they don't quite have the gravitas to convey the plot's darker elements. The heaviness--and the downbeat ending--mean it won't be a big box office hit (indeed it barely got released at all!). But it's important enough to live on as a cult classic video.
dir Tim Blake Nelson|
scr Brad Kaaya
with Josh Hartnett, Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles , Martin Sheen, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix, Elden Henson, John Heard, Rachel Shumate, Christopher Jones, AJ Johnson, Lisa Benavides
release US 31.Aug.01; UK 13.Sep.02
Tangled web. Odin gets caught up in Hugo's complex deceit (Phifer and Hartnett)...
|Ray, Perth: "I've been studying O in my english class and have discovered it to be a very interesting movie. When going through the play Othello it was much easier to understand the play after watching the movie O because some of the acts from the play were similar to that in the movie. I thought that the porn in the movie was a bit much, but that was really it that disturbed me, otherwise I thought it was great movie and it woke me up to see the serious social issues that this world is encountering." (29.Jun.04)|