Film Review: Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Occasion: Girls’ night out
Starring a clutch of director Joss Whedon’s favourites, Much Ado About Nothing is a faithful, yet modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s play by the same name. Fans will delight in Beatrice and Benedict’s acidic diatribes, Dogberry’s dopey incompetence and Don John’s sleazy schemes.
Luxuriously shot in black and white (at Whedon’s residence, apparently), the film’s cinematography captures the games of wit and duplicity with humour and flair.
Still, I found Whedon’s Much Ado disappointing. Suit wearing, iPod playing and mobile phone wielding; the Prince of Aragon and the residents of Messina awkwardly stumble over their “doths” and “haths”, while fixating on issues outdated and irrelevant in today’s world. I mean, who cares if they’re marrying a virgin or not these days? And what father would swear to tear his daughter apart if she isn’t still a maid?
This is not a criticism of Shakespeare for taking an archaic approach to chastity – those were the times after all. But this Much Ado suffers an identity crisis, taking the original dialogue and dropping it into a modern setting: is it a 2013 tale of the battle of the sexes? Or a 17th century warning of the folly of infidelity and immorality?
Nevertheless, the film is amusing, well cast and beautifully framed. A lighthearted night out – provided you don’t look to far beneath its surface.
Much Ado About Nothing
Adapte for the screen and directed by Joss Whedon
Starring Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher