Thoughts on Titus

Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:56 PM By Simon

-So Aaron the Moor, played with randy, fourth-wall-obliterating relish by Harry Lennix, has impregnanted the avenging mother Tamara (Jessica Lange, so very intense and so very badass). She gives birth to his kid, quite obviously his kid, and a nurse comes in, all a-twitter, to show Aaron and Tamara's rapist sons (Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Matthew Rhys). They are pissed off, and one of them screams "You hath undone our mother!" No joke, I kid not, get out, this is an actual line from the actual movie and the actual play: "Villian...I hath done thy mother." Does that not say it all?

-If this is the worst--most unsubtle, uncouth--of Shakespeare's plays, you must admit, it has spawned the most interesting film adaption.

-With no apparent time frame--ancient buildings, speech, and politics, but the casual, alternating presence of carriages and cars, wine and Coke, armor and T-shirts, tights and hot pants, aside from the already-screwed historical figures, that vary decades. And arcade games.

-The actors chew their lines like gum, tirelessly and complusively. Harry Lennix spends much of his time lecturing the camera with a clownish smile, even Young Lucius gets in on the action. Anthony Hopkins is, as always, esteemed and epic.

-Girl Who Plays Lavinia (my computer is screwy, I can't look up the name) gets one of the most unsettling, creative scenes (I think), underplayed spoken while music swells to make it all the more devastating. As her uncle discovers her, in a bloody underdress and chopped-off stumps for hands, which now grow tree branches (to coincide with the line that refers to the hands as branches), he begs her why she won't talk, and she opens her mouth, blood literally pouring out.

-Alan Cummings plays the new kind of Rome, who is introduced riding the Popemobile.

-For a revenged tragedy, this is more of a twisted comedy.

-My chief reason for always giving Julie Taymor another chance.


SugaryCynic said...

I really kind of hate this movie, with the exception of Harry Lennix, who spends all his screentime being awesome. And Anthony Hopkins in the chef's hat. Everything else is just so batshit insane and 90's that my brain vomits.

October 10, 2010 at 7:46 PM
Simon said...

Brains can't vomit. Don't be ridiculous.

Harry Lennix spends his life being awesome.

October 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM
Colin Biggs said...

It's certainly been recommended as one of the weirdest films of all-time, but I'm hesitant.

October 11, 2010 at 10:09 AM
Derek Armstrong said...

I love it too. So colorful -- the blue clay on Anthony Hopkins' face in the poster is a good single-image representation of the lush art direction. Also, so freaking violent I can't stand it.

I hope you're one of the ones who gave Taymor's Across the Universe a chance. I was prepared to hate it, and decidedly did not hate it.

October 11, 2010 at 2:48 PM
Simon said...

Fitz: What do you have to lose? Besides your mental health, but then, that's always at risk.

Vance: I love the half bored, half sarcastic look of Hopkins' face. Across the's soured for me over the years, but overall, I'm not entirely anti about it.

October 11, 2010 at 5:23 PM
Phoenix said...

Julie Taymor is now moving onto doing "The Tempest" with Helen Mirren as Prospera. My loins just leaped for joy.

October 12, 2010 at 12:38 PM