Republished from The Argentina Independent
Film writer Wendy Gosselin continues her coverage of this year’s BAFICI festival with reviews of Argentine productions Viola and Los Posibles and Brazilian documentary Doméstica, while Brandon Foster watches Joss Whedon’s surprising adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
(The sections written by Wendy Gosselin have been omitted. They can be viewed on the original article, as linked below.)
Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon)
Just off the huge success of Marvel’s The Avengers, it might surprise some that the next project of geek god Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and co-writer of Toy Story, would be a black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation. But, before long, it should be obvious to the viewers, be they faithful Whedonites or casual observers of The Cabin in the Woods, that the renowned Whedon wit is fully intact, and compatible with Shakespearean dialogue. The film is set in posh modernity, but, while iPods and smartphones pop up here and there, it’s not as reliant on this in the gimmicky kind of way that Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet was. For much of the movie, it’s hardly even apparent that the setting is contemporary, except that the characters are dressed in dapper suits and dresses instead of the garb of Shakespearean times. The wardrobe, as well as the occasional anachronisms such as an indelible shot of Claudio donned in a snorkeling mask, accent Shakespeare’s work rather than distract from it. The Bard’s legendary comedy shines through via the ensemble’s stellar delivery, yet Whedon manages to make his own jokes as well with slapstick humor, spot-on cinematography and a tongue-in-cheek awareness of modern connotations of Shakespearian wordings. The film’s 107 minutes fly by thanks to its phenomenal pacing, and Whedon, who was rumored to be in town by Argentine tweeters, creates a fresh interpretation that manages to respect the original work yet feel like a classic in its own right.