Watch Richard III
- 1 hr 44 min
Richard III is a 1995 film directed by Richard Loncraine and starring Ian McKellen as the titular character. The movie is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name which follows the story of Richard III, the last Yorkist king of England who ruled from 1483 until his death in 1485. The film takes place during the War of the Roses, a series of conflicts between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, which lasted from 1455 to 1487. Richard III, who is portrayed as a power-hungry and ruthless individual, is determined to ascend to the throne by any means necessary, including murder, deceit, and manipulation. The opening shot of the film shows a helicopter descending over a desolate wasteland which immediately creates a sense of foreboding and sets the tone for the rest of the movie. This visual image presents a post-apocalyptic world which serves as a metaphor for the chaos and destruction that Richard III's reign will bring. The film's production design is also noteworthy as it merges the Tudor and modern eras to create a unique aesthetic. The costumes and sets are inspired by the Tudor period, but the weapons are modern, and the cars and tanks that appear in the film give it a distinct 20th-century feel. Ian McKellen delivers a powerhouse performance as Richard III, compelling viewers to sympathize with the villainous character. His soliloquies, delivered directly to the camera, are a standout feature of the film as they provide insight into Richard's psyche and motivations. McKellen's portrayal of Richard III explores the character's deformity, showing how Richard's physical appearance became a catalyst for his villainy. Annette Bening plays Queen Elizabeth, a role for which she received critical acclaim. Elizabeth is a strong female character who resists Richard's advances and remains fiercely loyal to her family. Her performance adds depth to the queen's character, depicting her as more than just a pawn in Richard's game. The rest of the cast also gives strong performances, with Christopher Bowen as Edward IV, the sickly king who is manipulated by Richard, Nigel Hawthorne as the Duke of Clarence, and Jim Broadbent as Richard's henchman, the Duke of Buckingham. Each actor manages to bring their respective characters to life, adding to the film's overall realism. The film's cinematography adds to its dark and foreboding atmosphere. Scenes are often depicted in muted tones, with a grey color palette adding to the sense of bleakness. The camera work is also notable for its use of Dutch angles, which tilt the camera to create skewed perspectives, adding to the film's overall sense of unease. The plot of the film follows Richard as he connives, manipulates, and murders his way to the throne. The film offers insight into the political landscape which saw England plunged into civil war, with various factions vying for power. Richard's relentless pursuit of power leads to the downfall of his family, and ultimately his own demise, as he is defeated in battle. Overall, Richard III is a well-crafted film that offers an insightful and unique interpretation of Shakespeare's play. The performances, production design, and cinematography all contribute to creating an immersive and thought-provoking film that is both entertaining and emotionally impactful. The film's exploration of themes such as power, corruption, and loyalty offer an insightful commentary on human nature and the dangers of unchecked ambition.