THIS comedy of marriage manners, filmed possibly most of all of Shakespeare’s plays, needs a light directorial touch, a criterion that this latest version directed by Joss Whedon satisfies quite agreeably.
Whedon also adapted the play for the screen and composed the music, including a lovely version of “Sigh No More, Ladies”. Screening it in monochrome provides a striking viewing experience, reminding us that, done correctly, tones of grey have inherent virtues.
A competent American cast contains no well-known cinema names. Amy Acker (Beatrice) and Jillian Morgese (Hero) are delectable heroines. As Benedick, Alexis Denisof falls a tad short of some of his predecessors in the role (Ken Branagh in 1993 is hard to surpass). The three officers do a great comic turn.
About half an hour into the screening, a pair of adolescent men wearing hoodies left the cinema. What they were expecting I cannot tell. What they missed was a joy that in its original time and place would have evoked laughter from audiences at every social level. It still can, which is probably why it’s so popular among practitioners of the moving image. And no longer having to pay royalties is not really a major consideration.