Richard III Reviews

  • May 17, 2018

    I’ve enjoyed other modern adaptations of Shakespeare, and it’s always fascinating to see an alternate history film. So it seems like Richard III should be a winner since it tells the classic tale and moves it to 1940s England in a world where a Nazi leader murders his way to the throne. The cast is wonderful, and all focused around the amazing Ian McKellen who fully embraces the evil of this role. Having him leading the charge made the movie a bit more enjoyable, because I generally struggle when the focus is squarely on a villainous character. For long stretches of this film it was repetitive because they kept killing off one person after the next and then would have McKellen sneer to the camera. But I could accept some of the darker plot points if they would just drop the pretense of using the classic dialogue. There was no reason to hang onto Shakespeare’s original language when they were modernizing everything else. It hurts the flow of the film, and forces them to make choices that I don’t think they would have made otherwise. There are better ways of adapting, and even directly remaking, without quoting verbatim. It throws off the tone, and completely takes me out of the movie. I can accept Shakespeare prose when I see the actors in the proper period, but when they move to the 1940s the dialect should adjust as well. It was so frustrating, and Richard III is already a story I don’t love. I can see this working great for people who want to see an inventive new way of filming a Shakespeare classic, but it didn’t click for me.

    I’ve enjoyed other modern adaptations of Shakespeare, and it’s always fascinating to see an alternate history film. So it seems like Richard III should be a winner since it tells the classic tale and moves it to 1940s England in a world where a Nazi leader murders his way to the throne. The cast is wonderful, and all focused around the amazing Ian McKellen who fully embraces the evil of this role. Having him leading the charge made the movie a bit more enjoyable, because I generally struggle when the focus is squarely on a villainous character. For long stretches of this film it was repetitive because they kept killing off one person after the next and then would have McKellen sneer to the camera. But I could accept some of the darker plot points if they would just drop the pretense of using the classic dialogue. There was no reason to hang onto Shakespeare’s original language when they were modernizing everything else. It hurts the flow of the film, and forces them to make choices that I don’t think they would have made otherwise. There are better ways of adapting, and even directly remaking, without quoting verbatim. It throws off the tone, and completely takes me out of the movie. I can accept Shakespeare prose when I see the actors in the proper period, but when they move to the 1940s the dialect should adjust as well. It was so frustrating, and Richard III is already a story I don’t love. I can see this working great for people who want to see an inventive new way of filming a Shakespeare classic, but it didn’t click for me.

  • Mar 15, 2018

    A handsome production it is - but just could not get into it. This was meant for the stage and a live theater audience, in the same way as "Richard the Lionhearted." From the ratings here, some don't agree. But unless you're really into a lot of Shakespearean dialogue transmogrified and translocated to a venue not particularly suited for it - film - this is hard to recommend. Great acting by a good cast, but still ... Maybe I'll try again since this is a new age of old with Putin & Trump thanks to the Red State confederacy. Scary. | ~ Norm de Guerre

    A handsome production it is - but just could not get into it. This was meant for the stage and a live theater audience, in the same way as "Richard the Lionhearted." From the ratings here, some don't agree. But unless you're really into a lot of Shakespearean dialogue transmogrified and translocated to a venue not particularly suited for it - film - this is hard to recommend. Great acting by a good cast, but still ... Maybe I'll try again since this is a new age of old with Putin & Trump thanks to the Red State confederacy. Scary. | ~ Norm de Guerre

  • Feb 25, 2018

    Just awful. An imaginary Richard in fascist England? Absurd.

    Just awful. An imaginary Richard in fascist England? Absurd.

  • Jan 25, 2017

    This is the best Richard III film and I have seen them all. From the acting to the 1930s setting it just keeps you entertained

    This is the best Richard III film and I have seen them all. From the acting to the 1930s setting it just keeps you entertained

  • Oct 08, 2015

    Richard III must've been the true origin of the Joker in batman. Such a menace. The movie pulls off the Shakespearean dialogue artfully although it is pretty hard to keep up with details sometimes. Absolutely worth the watch.

    Richard III must've been the true origin of the Joker in batman. Such a menace. The movie pulls off the Shakespearean dialogue artfully although it is pretty hard to keep up with details sometimes. Absolutely worth the watch.

  • Robert B Super Reviewer
    Oct 08, 2015

    Richard III is a fun, unserious production. Ian McKellen is great in the titular role and is the main reason why I rate the film up; none of the other performances makes much of an impression. The setting is interesting with nice costuming and style. Richard III is definitely a film you want to see at least once.

    Richard III is a fun, unserious production. Ian McKellen is great in the titular role and is the main reason why I rate the film up; none of the other performances makes much of an impression. The setting is interesting with nice costuming and style. Richard III is definitely a film you want to see at least once.

  • Sep 24, 2015

    A brilliant shame that a feudal period piece should so easily translate to a 1930's setting. Beneath it's superficial sheen is social progress really that slow?

    A brilliant shame that a feudal period piece should so easily translate to a 1930's setting. Beneath it's superficial sheen is social progress really that slow?

  • May 04, 2015

    A great adaptation, but it moves almost too quickly, often at the expense of development and dialogue. A great flick for those who know the play; others may be a bit baffled as to what is going on.

    A great adaptation, but it moves almost too quickly, often at the expense of development and dialogue. A great flick for those who know the play; others may be a bit baffled as to what is going on.

  • Mar 10, 2015

    Utterly compelling and faultless. Ian McKellen is astonishing and chillingly convincing. Nigel Hawthorne is deeply moving as Clarence. The setting is effective and brings the piece to life with its deep cynicism. Every production of Richard III must surely pale in comparison.

    Utterly compelling and faultless. Ian McKellen is astonishing and chillingly convincing. Nigel Hawthorne is deeply moving as Clarence. The setting is effective and brings the piece to life with its deep cynicism. Every production of Richard III must surely pale in comparison.

  • Jan 18, 2015

    In this re-imagining of William Shakespeare's classic play, Ian McKellen shines as the titular villainous king. Adapted to look like 1930's fascist England, this film is just brimming with style and sleaze...just like Richard himself. Even if you don't like Shakespeare, you'll like this.

    In this re-imagining of William Shakespeare's classic play, Ian McKellen shines as the titular villainous king. Adapted to look like 1930's fascist England, this film is just brimming with style and sleaze...just like Richard himself. Even if you don't like Shakespeare, you'll like this.