TITUS: A REVIEW FROM THE VAULT

TITUS is a film I fell in love with in 1999 but never reviewed until 2009 when I purchased it on DVD. I loved this film for its absurdity and darkness, and to be honest, at the time I was in love with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and of course, the “Lecterish” performance from Anthony Hopkins – the film is a stunning visual depraved extravagance. Please also note this was written when I was only a newbie reviewer – do not judge this as my style of writing these days haha 🙂

 

 

Alan Cumming, Anthony Hopkins, harry lennix, Jason King, Jessica Lange, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Julie Taymor, Matthew Rhys, Titus, Titus Andronicus, Titus Movie, Titus Review, William Shakespeare
TITUS – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FROM THE VAULT

 

War begets revenge. Victorious general, Titus Andronicus, returns to Rome with hostages: Tamora queen of the Goths and her sons. He orders the eldest hewn to appease the Roman dead. He declines the proffered emperor’s crown, nominating Saturninus, the last ruler’s venal elder son. Saturninus, to spite his brother Bassianus, demands the hand of Lavinia, Titus’s daughter. When Bassianus, Lavinia, and Titus’s sons flee in protest, Titus stands against them and slays one of his own. Saturninus marries the honey-tongued Tamora, who vows vengeance against Titus. The ensuing maelstrom serves up tongues, hands, rape, adultery, racism, and Goth-meat pie. There’s irony in which two sons survive.

 

 

Alan Cumming, Anthony Hopkins, harry lennix, Jason King, Jessica Lange, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Julie Taymor, Matthew Rhys, Titus, Titus Andronicus, Titus Movie, Titus Review, William Shakespeare
TITUS – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FROM THE VAULT

 

This is twisted macabre Shakespeare, while still a typical Shakespeare tragedy – this ain’t no R&J, it is down, depressing, violent, conniving & chilling. Yet it is so visual, colourful, unusual and entertaining it holds you enthralled. The cast is astounding and the acting is top notch. With the following cast – how could it go wrong: Anthony Hopkins as Titus Andronicus in his most scary role since Silence of the Lambs, in fact Titus could be seen as the original Hannibal Lecter. Jessica Lange as Titus’ match in wickedry. Jonathan Rhys Meyers in one his first and still his best performance. Matthew Rhys in a role a little more challenging than the gay brother in Brothers and Sisters – but I do love that show . And Allan Cumming in a typical Allan Cumming character of brilliance. This film is like the PG rated Caligula but Shakespeare coated. I don’t think the film would have had a huge cinematic reception – it was way ahead of it’s time and would be loved by theatre lovers, intellectuals and patrons of the arts plus your brilliant movie lovers. The general public at the time would have “flipped their lid” either at the wicked debauchery or at the struggle to understand what is going on. It is set in the 1st Century yet crossed over with modern times and delivered as a theatre piece as opposed to a film.

Directed by Julie Taymor (Frida, Across the Universe) this film is a pure visual feast. The film has imagery and cinematography to make Tim Burton and Baz giggle with glee. There is no need to even understand the language – the emotion, acting, themes and imagery are enough to hold you engrossed.

 

 

Alan Cumming, Anthony Hopkins, harry lennix, Jason King, Jessica Lange, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Julie Taymor, Matthew Rhys, Titus, Titus Andronicus, Titus Movie, Titus Review, William Shakespeare
TITUS – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FROM THE VAULT

 

TRIVIA CARE OF IMDB:

Following the death of Caesar, the two princes’ supporters carry banners with the same colors as modern Rome’s two rival soccer teams: A.S. Roma (yellow/red) and S.S. Lazio (white/pale blue).

Director Julie Taymor fought against an NC-17 rating for the film, but finally agreed to make cuts in the Roman orgy scene in order to obtain an R rating. None of the gruesome violence, however, was considered inconsistent with an R rating.

The microphone used during the election at the beginning of the movie sports the logo SPQR News, SPQR, stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” which means “the Senate and people of Rome.” The letters were used to denote official entities. They can still be seen in many parts of the city of Rome to this day.

In a TV profile on British TV in 2002, Anthony Hopkins confirmed that he had found the experience of working on this film so stressful that he decided at the time to retire from film acting. In the same interview, Hopkins points out that in the dinner scene towards the end of the film he mimics the great British “Knight” actors of Shakespeare: John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, and Laurence Olivier.

After shooting the final scene, Anthony Hopkins unleashed his anger at the close-up camera by giving it a middle-finger salute.

Harry Lennix originally played Aaron for Julie Taymor’s off Broadway production of Titus Andronicus. When informed of the impending movie he felt obligated to reprise his role for the screen.

 

4 and a Half Pops