|Julius Caesar on BBC 4
||[Jun. 25th, 2012|11:56 am]
Julius Caesar is a dark and sweaty play, full of ghosts and omens. Is it illuminating to transfer the action to modern Africa, or a little patronizing?|
Greg Doran's TV film has a competent, all-black cast, with Paterson Joseph outshining everyone else by several degrees of magnitude. His Brutus (as good a Brutus as you're ever likely to see) combines effortless charisma with twinkling self-love. As someone once said of President Wilson, he's "a great, good man- and he knows it."
How do you do Shakespeare on film? Should you open everything out or try to create the cinematic equivalent of the original wooden "O"? This production- which started life on stage in Stratford- falls somewhere in between, with some scenes shot on what are very obviously stage sets and others in real environments- corridors and rest rooms and cellars. When filmic is most wanted- as in the crowd scenes and battles- it reverts to its origins. Act I scene i, with dancers grooving like they were on Top of the Pops and Flavius and Marullus dispersing them with sjamboks, is so lacking in any sense of danger I almost switched off.