Combustible Celluloid
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With: Laurence Fishburne, Irène Jacob, Kenneth Branagh, Nathaniel Parker, Michael Maloney, Anna Patrick, Nicholas Farrell, Indra Ove, Michael Sheen
Written by: Oliver Parker, based on a play by William Shakespeare
Directed by: Oliver Parker
MPAA Rating: R for some sexuality
Running Time: 123
Date: 12/15/1995

Othello (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

To Die Upon a Kiss

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After reinvigorating Shakespeare in cinema with his Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, Kenneth Branagh took the supporting part in this production of Othello, in the coveted role of the conniving villain Iago, with Oliver Parker directing. More good news is that Laurence Fishburne takes the title role, becoming the first African-American to do so in a major motion picture (following in the footsteps of Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles). Fishburne and Branagh are wonderful, with the lovely Irene Jacob rounding out the triangle as Desdemona. The production has a lot of fire and silence, although it is simplified and shortened, much to the chagrin of some Shakespeare fans. But for others, this Othello offers at least a fresh look at one of the Bard's greatest works.

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