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It is farce and mime and wisecracks, and dastardly melodrama which all comes right in the end, of course, because this is a Comedy.
The film's action is a progression through a series of picnics, communal bathing, dinners, banquets, dances and courtships.
Branagh sets the pace just this side of a Marx Brothers movie.
Some of the characters have a language device as Dogberry with his malapropisms "our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato", the awkward language of the watch, and Beatrice and Bene*censored* have their witty exchanges of conversation interwoven with insults and teasing.
The World of Status From the beginning of time man has dealt with the issue of status.
His "Dead Again" hurtled headlong into the juiciness of the murder-and-reincarnation genre.
His "Peter's Friends" was a reunion of old university chums whose youthful quirks had matured into full-blown eccentricities, for good or ill.When a character has strong emotions of happiness or sadness, Shakespeare uses poetry to highlight the heightened feelings and often allows characters long and uninterrupted speeches of poetry to express themselves more clearly and with feeling.Comic scenes lighten the play and contain some sexual innuendo and many witty remarks and exchanges between the characters, Leonato answering, "Her mother hath many times told me so" when the Prince presented Hero to Leonato.Branagh is nothing if not a film director of high spirits and great energy.His "Henry V" was a Shakespeare history filled with patriotism and poetry.One of Shakespeare's characters made of low comedy and burlesque, Dogberry here becomes a recycled grotesque modeled on Keaton's performance in "Beetlejuice." Does the approach work?Probably not as Shakespeare, because it seems to come from another universe than the one inhabited by the other characters in the play.Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), Don Pedro's follower, casts eyes on the beautiful Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and is immediately possessed by love. Meanwhile, the older Benedick (Branagh) and Beatrice (Emma Thompson) feel a powerful attraction, too, but it is expressed through barbed insults and verbal sparring.Sometimes when people are frightened by the love they feel, it comes out through mock hostility.It is entirely appropriate that it has been released in the springtime.The Ebert Club is our hand-picked selection of content for Ebert fans.