- 1 hr 37 min
Cymbeline is a 2014 film adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, directed and co-written by Michael Almereyda. Starring Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, and Milla Jovovich, the film is a modern retelling of the original play, set in present-day America. The plot of Cymbeline revolves around the titular character, a nobleman who rules over a biker gang called the Britons. When his daughter Imogen (Dakota Johnson) falls in love with a lowly but honorable man named Posthumus (Penn Badgley), Cymbeline is outraged and banishes Posthumus from his kingdom. Meanwhile, Cymbeline's scheming queen (Jovovich) plots to have her own son (Anton Yelchin) take the throne. As the plot unfolds, Cymbeline becomes embroiled in a web of deceit, betrayal, and violence that threatens to tear apart his kingdom and his family. Along the way, he encounters various characters, including drug dealers, corrupt police officers, and a ghostly apparition who may hold the key to his future. One of the most striking things about Cymbeline is its visual style. Almereyda has crafted a dark, gritty world that is at once contemporary and timeless. The film was shot in various locations around New York City, including state parks, abandoned warehouses, and gritty back alleys. The result is a film that feels both otherworldly and earthbound, a fitting backdrop for the volatile emotions that drive the story. Another standout aspect of Cymbeline is the performances of its cast. Ethan Hawke is particularly impressive as Cymbeline, bringing a gravitas and intensity to the role that is both believable and engaging. Ed Harris is equally strong as his adversary, the ambitious and treacherous Lord Belarius. And Milla Jovovich is at her villainous best as the manipulative queen, bringing a sense of dangerous energy to the character that is both seductive and terrifying. The film also boasts a strong supporting cast, including John Leguizamo as a drug dealer with a grudge against Cymbeline, and Delroy Lindo as a police detective who may hold the key to unraveling the tangled plot. Dakota Johnson and Penn Badgley are solid as the young lovers at the heart of the story, although they are somewhat overshadowed by the more seasoned actors in the cast. Of course, the most important aspect of any Shakespeare adaptation is the quality of the writing. Almereyda and his co-writers have made some bold choices in adapting the play for the screen, including cutting and rearranging certain scenes and adding a few modern touches (such as guns and motorcycles) to the mix. Purists may balk at some of these changes, but for the most part, they work well in the context of the film. Overall, Cymbeline is a dark and brooding film that offers a fresh take on a classic tale of betrayal, revenge, and redemption. Its combination of stellar performances, striking visuals, and inventive writing make it a worthy addition to the canon of Shakespeare adaptations, and a film that is well worth watching for fans of the Bard and newcomers alike.