Written in 1558, William Shakespeare perpetually inspires with stinging, titillating wit, sagacious repartee and timeless wisdom. The film (a true masterpiece by director Joss Whedon) is a dazzling, scintillating comedic tale, touching every element of the human condition: love, betrayal, intrigue, manipulation; portrayed in a contemporary milieu (Whedon’s home, Santa Monica, CA.) by overwhelmingly gifted actors. One does not have to be familiar with the story to recognize the stunning brilliance of this flawless, caustically scintillating portrait of characters making “much ado about nothing.”
The scenario, filmed in black and white, revolves primarily around two couples: “Claudio” (Fran Kranz) and “Hero” (Jillian Morgese) poignantly- pierced by Cupid’s arrow; “Beatrice” (Amy Acker) and “Benedick” (Alexis Denisof) whose intense distain for each other, and matrimony, (Beatrice proclaims “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swears he loves me.”) can only lead to what they vociferously deny. Forerunners of Jane Austen’s “Elizabeth Bennet” and “Mr. Darcy; films: “Gone With the Wind”, “When Harry Met Sally”, Kathryn Hepburn/Spencer Tracy, pairings; couples destined for partnership; the circuitous route, slippery with madcap intensity; incisive, salient, salty, stabbing barbs; eventually shedding acrimony; accepting, embracing, exhilarating serenity. The master of the medieval, transcends the ages and his magical prescience is pulsating, vibrantly alive today.