Tag: Shakespeare

Stirring Shakespeare’s Tragedies: A Text Analysis Project

Introduction

Full Topic 1.png
A ten word topic model represented in its full chaos from the Mandala browser

I wanted to try a new way of looking at texts that I already knew and the Mandala Browser looked like it was an interesting way to “stir the archive” so that these texts would become “weird” and perhaps show me a new way to read them. Once I learned that the browser came with Shakespeare’s tragedies built into it, I began to think of things that I could look for, connections that I already knew existed but which I might be able to prove were a bigger deal or a more wide-ranging phenomenon rather than a thing that English professors just tell their students about so that they can write papers with tenuous connections to the text. Specifically, I was looking for a correlation between the way nature acted and the state’s dysfunction which appears throughout Shakespeare’s tragedies. This involved setting up magnets with groups of words like “storm gale wind tempest” and “anger ire insanity insane angry” to see what overlap there was, but that didn’t prove as useful as I wanted it to be.

I then looked to a different way of finding related words and remembered that topic modeling was an interesting option. It would give me a list of words that were related which I could then input into the Mandala browser to see what those connections would be. This proved to be a fruitful endeavor which separated out my bias and allowed the texts to show for themselves what they were about. Some of the groups of words that I used were more obvious than others, but all provided at least a few interesting speeches that I would not have connected without a lot of time spent trying to match things in my head. This was an effective way to stir the archive and see texts in a new, colorfully connected way.

Methods and Materials

The two products used for this project were Mandala Browser and TopicModelingTool, both of which are free and open source. The Mandala Browser came with a built-in document that has all the speeches from Shakespeare’s tragedies separated and indexed for ease of use. When you create a magnet in the Mandala Browser, every speech which contains that word is pulled from the edge of the screen to orbit the magnet. When you create another magnet with a different word (or words) the same happens and a mini-magnet appears in between them around which orbits the speeches which contain both words (or sets of words). This allows you to see how the two words are used together in the texts. You can create as many magnets as you want and the program will show you how they are all connected with mini-magnets, but anything over 4 magnets quickly became unruly to work with.

Once I realized that wasn’t really doing anything with my initial method, I looked for a quick and easy topic modeling tool and lo, the creatively named TopicModelingTool, found on Alan Liu’s DH Toychest, was exactly what I was looking for. I had to create a .txt document of all the tragedies and strip out excess information from the Gutenberg Project and other sources. Once I had a file, I put it through the TopicModelingTool on the default settings (200 passes through the text, 10 topics with 10 words per topic) and got some interesting results. I tried putting each word of the first topic into Mandala with a different magnet for every word. 10 magnets, though, is too much and the Mandala window became a mess of lines and circles and colors.

So I went back to TopicModelingTool and gave it different parameters (1000 passes through the text, 20 topics, 3 words per topic). This produced much more manageable results and when I put each topic into Mandala in the same way and got a nice, easy to read and work with result. Each one that I tried produced connections from various plays and expanded beyond what I had previously thought about Shakespeare’s plays when I conceived of them as individual works rather than parts of a body of work. What this project provided me was not a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s methods or writing style but rather an alternative way of reading his plays. The Mandala Browser makes each speech a separate “work” which it then mixes and matches based on the user’s input. What is shows is not groundbreaking new ways to understand a text, it is a way to deform and distort the texts so that the user can read them with new eyes.

Results: Some Case Studies

Good Night Friends

When I first saw this topic appear in the TopicModelingTool it seemed like such an obvious trio, especially in that order. It is no wonder that the words “good” and “night” and “friends” would appear near each other in Shakespeare’s texts because they appear so frequently in my own life. But when I entered them into the Mandala Browser, I found some surprising connections between them, or lack thereof.Good Night Friends

It turns out that while there are a good number of speeches where both “good” and “friends” appear (38 total) and even more where “good” and “night” share a space (89), only two speeches in the entirety of Shakespeare’s tragedies share all three words. The first is Hamlet’s in Scene 2.2:

“Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. My good friends, I’ll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore.”

Here Hamlet dismisses his buddies Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after setting their plan to have a play out his evil new dad’s murderous ways. It is a somewhat standard farewell and only the “good” modifier of friends gives any indication and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are more than just hangers on. The other speech comes from The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra as Antony asks his servants to tend to him one last time:

 Tend me to-night; May be it is the period of your duty: Haply you shall not see me more; or if, A mangled shadow: perchance to-morrow You’ll serve another master. I look on you As one that takes his leave. Mine honest friends, I turn you not away; but, like a master Married to your good service, stay till death: Tend me to-night two hours, I ask no more, And the gods yield you for’t! (4.2.24-33)

The “good” in this speech is related not to the quality of the friendship but to the standard of service that Antony’s reliable house servants have provided. And “friend” is modified by “honest,” an entirely different although no less heartfelt descriptor of what a friend might be. Finally, “night” seems to appear thanks to the hyphenated version of “tonight,” but I do not see that as a mistake, rather it is an evocation of a time and a melancholy that haunts the entire scene. It is soon Antony’s end, and he has few to spend his short remaining time with than those whose job it is to serve him. He still has genuine affection for them or he would not call them “honest friends,” but they are no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

This is one of the interesting outcomes in a topic model. Even with a relatively small sample size there are still patterns to see. A brief glance at the speeches which held both “good” and “night” in their length showed a roughly equal number of examples which paired the two together in their standard farewell meanings and those which scattered them among many more words, though they were often used more than once in a given speech if they were not connected directly. It is this kind of nebulous connection made more concrete that topic modeling visualized through the Mandala browser can provide. A topic need not be entirely connected by each element equally and wholly, but strong connections between each element individually will make for a stronger whole. With this topic we can see Shakespeare construct night-time gatherings of friends or people brought together by a common cause across plays.

Life Nature Death

This is the most interesting topic produced by the TopicModelingTool because it shows more of a strong core connection between all three words (7 instances of all three words appearing in one speech), each of which is a huge topic in its own right in Shakespeare’s tragedies, and which also demonstrates a glitch in the system which may yet prove meaningful.

Life Nature Death

Since this is not a giant research paper, I’ll only examine two of the speeches which contain all three topic words. The first comes from Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth as the title character tells his wife of his completed assassination:

“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature‘s second course, Chief nourisher in life‘s feast,–” (2.2.46-51).

Although the scene is entirely about life and death, and the nature of murder, this particular speech is actually about the quality of sleep which Macbeth imagines he has murdered along with his friend and king in his quest for the throne. And yet, all three words appear in the last line of the speech, the point where he extols the virtues of sleep and laments the way he has killed it for the foreseeable future. The topic words combine in a way both expected, all together and in the aftermath of an assassination, and unexpected, in reference to sleep.

I mentioned above that this topic did encounter a glitch, and it is due to the name of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, The Life of Timon of Athens. I have not read this play and I have no real context for it, but the title’s use of the word “life” means that of the 7 speeches where all three words overlap, 3 come from this play. In all three cases, the only occurrence of “life” is in the title of the play, which counts for Mandala but not the TopicModelingTool. This is an instructive glitch, because it highlights the issues that may occur when going from one tool to another. There is no way of telling Mandala to ignore the title of a play when it searches for these speeches containing a word, even though the other tool does not “see” the title of the play. Perhaps this is also a nudge towards the real use of topic models, which is as a loosely defined and even more loosely connected set of words which may have some deeper meaning to them. Like I said earlier, it is not necessary to only examine the speeches where all three topic words appear and in fact, the number of speeches containing two of the topic words (78 in total for this topic) are probably the more fruitful areas of interest for a more in depth research project.

Discussion

There are two large takeaways from this project. The first is the efficacy and even necessity of using multiple tools in conjunction with each other. How one tool informs another is a relationship that cannot be fully understood until you just play around with them for a bit. Experimentation and serious playfulness will lead a researcher such as myself to connections that I might not have guessed at on my own and with a rudimentary understanding of how the tools work. It takes fiddling to fully grasp the potential of a tool, it takes breaking it by asking it to do something it cannot do and it takes asking it to do something strange that it ends up being great at to really discover the multitude of possibilities. And then it takes even more fiddling with the tools in relation to each other to discover how they might work together. Each tool is good for some things and not good for others. In this case, the TopicModelingTool is good at creating these topics but it is terrible at actually letting you read the texts or see how the topics are formed by their signifying words. That is where the Mandala browser enters the picture, as it both visualizes those connections and brings the researcher back to the original text. Each tool might serve its own small purpose in a research project, but it is only when they are used together that they become as powerful as they can be.

 

The other lesson learned is that it is ok and sometimes even necessary to throw out a research question if it is not working with the tools you are using in a data analysis project. I had this initial idea to look at the way nature interacts with the state of a character’s inner mind at the outset of this project. But that yielded no fruit. Instead, I found that the tools led the way, at least in this preliminary, exploratory setting. If I wanted to revisit that initial research question, I might try to find topics using the TopicModelingTool which coalesce around nature, and perhaps see what speeches contain those words and then investigate whether those speeches are in response to a change in a character’s being. I would have never known to do that, though, without this prework of discovering what the tools do separately and together, and how I might use their disparate abilities to answer that initial question. The scope of this project does not align with the scope of that question, but I am glad to have gotten the preliminary discovery work out of the way so that I might use these two tools in future projects, and so that I have a path to follow if I want to find out how other tools work.

Shakesp-Year: The Beginning

Clever? No? Okay. Well, I like it. I like a few other things, too, including the works of everybody’s favorite playwright, William “Billy” Shakespeare. A few years ago I received a degree in English Literature from the University of Connecticut and while I was there I took a course on Shakespeare, which was a wonderful learning experience. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten a bit away from the Bard after graduating. It’s hard to read Shakespeare, literally. Heh. Anyways, basically, I feel like I have to force myself to read some of his works and interact with them in all their various ways. And thus, Shakesp-Year.

Shakesp-Year will be 52 weeks long and will feature at least one post per week on some form of Shakespeare work. I hope to read some plays, maybe some alternate adaptations (Romeo and Juliet and Vampires, perhaps?), movies (both standard and more imaginatively adapted versions), filmed plays, audio versions, comic books (do those even exist?), whatever I can get my hands on. And I haven’t ever seen an actual stage version of any of his plays, so I hope to get to one of those as well. We’ll see what pops up in my area. Basically, if it’s got Shakespeare in it, on it, or around it, I’m there.

Partially, I’m going to need to rely upon you, my adoring audience, for some direction on where to go. What do you like? Who does the best Hamlet? The worst? I’m interested in everything, so lay it on me. Leave suggestions in the comments of this post (or any other upcoming Shakesp-Year posts). You’re an integral part of this process!

Penultimately, a few things I’m interested in watching/reading/listening to:

All’s Well That Ends Well

  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1981)

As You Like It

  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1978)
  • UK TV version (1963)

The Comedy of Errors

  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1983)

Cymbeline

  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1982)

Love’s Labour’s Lost

  • Musical version (2000)

Measure for Measure

  • Performance version (1995)

The Merchant of Venice

  • Play of the Month version (1972)
  • US version (1973)
  • US version (2004)

The Merry Wives of Windsor

  • Chimes at Midnight

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • US version (1935)
  • Royal Shakespeare Company version (1968)
  • The Animated Shakespeare version (1992)
  • US version (1999)

Much Ado About Nothing

  • UK version (1993)
  • ShakespeaRe-Told version (2005)
  • US version (2012/2013?)

The Taming of the Shrew

  • US version (1929)
  • US version (1967)
  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1980)
  • Quantum Leap episode
  • Moonlighting episode
  • 10 Things I Hate about You (1999)
  • ShakespeaRe-Told version (2005)

The Tempest

  • US version (2010)
  • Forbidden Planet
  • Twelfth Night
  • UK version (1996)
  • UK TV version (2003)

Antony and Cleopatra

  • 1972 version

Coriolanus

  • BBC Television Shakespeare version (1984)

Hamlet

  • UK version (1941)
  • UK version (1996)
  • US version (2000)
  • The Bad Sleep Well
  • Strange Brew
  • The Lion King (rewatch)

Julius Caesar

  • US version (1953)
  • US version (1970)

King Lear

  • US TV version (1953)
  • New York Shakespeare Festival version (1974)
  • UK TV version (1983)
  • Royal National Theatre version (1997)
  • Ran
  • King Lear (1987)

Macbeth

  • US version (1948)
  • Roman Polanski version (rewatch)
  • Royal Shakepeare Company version (1978)
  • Scotland, PA (2001)
  • ShakespeaRe-Told  (2005)

Othello

  • US version (1952)
  • Royal National Theatre version (1965)
  • Royal Shakespeare Company version (1990)
  • US version (1995)
  • O (rewatch)

Romeo and Juliet

  • US version (1936)
  • Italy version (1968)
  • Romeo+Juliet (rewatch)

Titus Andronicus

  • Titus (1999)

Henry IV Part 1

  • An Age of Kings (1960)
  • The Hollow Crown Henry IV, Part 1 (2012)

Henry IV Part 2

  • An Age of Kings (1960)
  • The Hollow Crown Henry IV, Part 2 (2012)

Henry V

  • UK version (1944)
  • An Age of Kings (1960)
  • UK version (1989)
  • The Hollow Crown Henry V (2012)

Henry VI Part 1

  • An Age of Kings (1960)

Henry VI Part 2

  • An Age of Kings (1960)

Henry VI Part 3

  • An Age of Kings (1960)

Richard II

  • UK (1997)
  • The Hollow Crown Richard II (2012)

Richard III

  • UK version (1955)
  • An Age of Kings (1960)
  • UK version (1995) (rewatch)
  • Looking for Richard (1996)

Other things

  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Doctor Who episode: The Shakespeare Code
  • Playing Shakespeare UK TV series
  • The Black Adder series 1

So, let me know what I missed in there. Those are strictly filmed versions. If you know of a written adaptation in any medium that’s good to read, let me know that, too.

Finally, I have two reviews of Shakespeare based movies on this site so far, so to quench your thirst until Shakesp-Year begins  (I’m thinking the start of December), check out my reviews of Coriolanus and Throne of Blood.

The movies of 2012 so far

Instead of presenting only a top 5 like I did with music last week, I’m going to list all the movies I’ve seen this year with a little bit of commentary for each of them. This list will start with the worst and end with the best as all lists should be.

23. The Devil Inside

One of the numerous exorcism movies of late, and the worst of them. It’s mostly boring, but when it gets interesting it also gets yell-y and annoying. D.

22. Safe House

Basically the only good thing to come out of this movie is Doug Benson’s tagline “No one is safe, no one is house.” It’s kinda dull for an action movie. And can we save Denzel Washington from being in these movies? Maybe Zemeckis and his upside-down plane movie will do it. D.

21. The Raid: Redemption

It’s all action. There are a few talking scenes that are poorly acted and uninteresting. The stunts and choreography are impressive but there’s only so much punching and kicking I can take. The new Judge Dredd movie seems to follow a similar plot, hopefully that will be better. D+.

20. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Well, it’s crazier than the first one. We finally learn what it looks like when Nic Cage pees while he’s in his demon form. There’s some fun action but the story is dumb and only Idris Elba is doing anything interesting. C+.

19. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

The first film was surprisingly competent, this one lacks the surprise element. It’s ok. Just watch the “pec pop of love” scene on youtube and move on with your life. C+.

18. Friends with Kids

Almost like a Bridesmaids reunion but with less funny. Adam Scott is good as always and Jon Hamm gets to do some good dramatic stuff. Mostly, though, it’s kinda blah. C+.

17. Lockout

Should have been called SPACE PRISON! or maybe ESCAPE FROM SPACE PRISON! because it is the same story as Escape from New York. Guy Pierce does a pretty solid Snake Plisskin, so that’s worth something. C+.

16. Wrath of the Titans

Kind of the opposite of the Journey series, this sequel was surprisingly competent. Sam Worthington is still boring as hell but you get a bit of Bill Nighy to liven up your day. The action is better this time around and the CGI is spectacular. B-.

15. The Woman in Black

The first big post-Harry Potter role for Daniel Radcliffe is this nice little horror film. I’m a pretty easy scare so horror films tend to work on me. This one gets some help from Ciarán Hinds, always a welcome sight. A nice little gothic horror film. B.

14. The Hunger Games

Read my full review here. A (too?) faithful adaptation of the bestselling book had a lot of hype and was entertaining enough to back it up. I was left hoping they’d venture beyond the book a little more than they did. The best scene (a certain death and its ramifications outside the game) is at least part invention. B.

13. Chronicle

A charming little found footage movie. We’ve started to move past using this style in only horror films with this superhero-esque story getting the treatment. They do some interesting things with it as the kids develop their telekinetic powers and start floating the cameras around. The ending was surprisingly effective as well. B+.

12. Jeff, Who Lives at Home

The super-realistic style doesn’t always match the story here, but some solid performances and writing save the day. Also, this movie is kind of obsessed with the underrated Shyamalan movie Signs, which is pretty awesome. B+.

11. John Carter

Good old-fashioned sci-fi epic. This story is the grandfather of science fiction as we know it and as such is sometimes a little familiar but the execution of those story elements are great, even if the script is a bit of a mess. I’d rather watch this than any of the Star Wars movies. B+.

10. Brave

It’s not an amazing movie like a lot of other Pixar films but it is really good. I loved the look of the film and the swooping camera really gets that fantastic feel. It feels rote and new at the same time, and I can’t really get at why that is. A-.

9. Haywire

Listen up, The Raid: Redemption, this is how you do an action movie. Gina Carano isn’t an actor by trade but her MMA background shines in the action scenes. This is a Steven Soderbergh film and as such it has style for miles. And I can’t resist a Michael Fassbender. A-.

8. 21 Jump Street

Maybe the surprise of the year. How did this movie based on a crappy tv show from the eighties turn into such a funny and subversive movie? Being from the same guys that did Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs helps, as does a surprisingly great performance from Channing Tatum. This movie is very funny. A-.

7. The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s too bad this movie came out after the (bad) Raimi versions because half of the discussion has revolved around whether or not its existence is “necessary.” Well, no movie is necessary, and this film is better than all the ones that came before it. Garfield and Stone do a great job and (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb moves the story along with style and grace. A-.

6. Coriolanus

Read my full review here. Ralph Fiennes does double duty as actor and director and accomplishes both admirably. A modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, the action scenes are good enough but it really shines in the dialogue. Vanessa Redgrave is really good in a supporting role as the mother of the proud military leader. A-.

5. Prometheus

Read my full review here. This movie doesn’t get a whole lot of love on the internet and it has problems to be sure. It remains, however, a fantastic film. I’d rather a movie reached for something interesting and fail than stay comfortably within the bounds of what we’ve come to expect from films. There are plot holes and some irrational decisions, but I’d challenge you to find a sci-fi movie where a character doesn’t act irrationally at one point or another. It’s a big, smart, ambitious movie and I will applaud that any day of the week. A-.

4. The Cabin in the Woods

If only this movie was actually scary, it’d have a good shot at making my top 100 list. As is, it’s a fun, clever movie about genre conventions and the role of movie-makers and their audience. And there’s even more evidence that Chris Hemsworth can act.

3. The Avengers

Funny that this and The Cabin in the Woods would end up next to each other with the elements they share (Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth). This is the culmination of all the Marvel movies that came before it and it’s better than all of them. The chemistry between all of the characters is fantastic and it moves quite well for a 2 and a half hour film. The big setpiece at the end of the movie is spectacular carnage. A.

2. We Need to Talk About Kevin

A movie about a mother and her son. Is the son evil, or is the mother coloring her memories with the crayons of regret and hindsight? Tilda Swinton gives such a phenomenal performance as the film cuts back and forth between the child’s development and the repercussions of a heinous act. It’s a mood movie, skillfully directed by Lynne Ramsay. A.

1. Moonrise Kingdom

Read my review here. I just posted it yesterday, so there’s not much to say about it. I’ll take this time to point you towards a fun little video encouraging you to see the film. It stars Jason Schwartzman and gives a little more of his hilarious character from the film proper. A.

What movies have I missed? What movies am I wrong about? Let me know your favorite movies of the year in the comment section.

Movie Review: Coriolanus

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate

As reek o’the rotten fens, whose loves I prize

As the dead carcases of unburied men

That do corrupt my air.

I’m going to do my Shakespeare on film marathon one of these days. It’s going to be the greatest thing ever done, rivaling the Bards work itself. It will be epic and humanistic at the same time. Grand and personal. Anyways, this movie will have to be in it because it is the only theatrical version of the play. Coriolanus is a history, probably the least popular of the three genres that Shakes wrote in but it is equally rich ground as the comedies and tragedies. It tells the rise and fall and re-rise and then whatever of a military general who is elevated to the highest level of public office because of his war record and scars but cares little for the people he is supposed to be governing. The dynamic is set up early and often, he’s a proud man but feels he’s above nearly everybody else on the planet including his rival, an insurgency leader who is clearly not the equal of the mighty Coriolanus.

Watching this movie, which transposes the action to a modern-day version of Rome (kinda, it’s got a few minor issues here but the modernization mostly works), I got a strong feeling of deja vu, though I had never even heard of this play before seeing the trailer. It’s all political dealing and manuvering outside of one action scene for the whole first hour. What it felt like was Game of Thrones. The big players are big and bombastic (Fiennes spits a lot, which is gross but fun) but there are also these side characters that plot and scheme to keep the people they don’t like out of power. In this film it’s Brian Cox trying to put Ralph Fiennes into the seat of power and James Nesbit trying to keep him out. It’s a fun dynamic. They both manipulate the populace into thinking one way and then the other, rabble rousing the poor starving people. A lot is made of literally and metaphorically showing Fiennes’ battle scars and there seems to be a custom of going out into the people and asking them to endorse a candidate and it’s fun to see that play out, even if it doesn’t quite make sense with the scope of the film (the 40 or so people don’t quite make for a majority, do they?) So Fiennes rises and falls and is exiled on national tv. That’s fun. You know, Shakespeare is pretty damned good at this whole writing thing. Coriolanus gets mad very quickly and its fun to watch Fiennes bluster at everybody. Then he’s offscreen for five minutes and has gone from bald to scruffy seemingly overnight. Time compression!

Shakespeare has been studied endlessly and his depiction of women probably takes up half of the papers written about him. Here we have Jessica Chastain (of course) playing Coriolanus’ faithful but worried wife and Vanessa Redgrave as his fierce and powerful mother. Chastain is fine, but doesn’t get a whole ton to do. Redgrave, on the other hand, is awesome. You can very clearly see how Coriolanus came from her. Everything he is is because of her. She propels him, emboldens him. Chastises him, defends him, and, ultimately, defeats him. Not with a knife, of course, even Gerard Butler, Mr. 300 himself, couldn’t beat Coriolanus with a knife. No, she beats him with words, first groveling then shaming him and his decisions. She’s brokering for peace between him and his former country but it is only through their personal connection that she gets through to him. There’s gotta be a paper in there somewhere, right?

This is one of those movies that follows the play pretty closely (I assume). No lines of dialogue are spoken that aren’t in the play and anything depicting an invented scene lacks words. This is a convention that I get, I understand, but I don’t really know if I care about it. Are his words that revered that nobody can deign to change them? The Lion King works just fine as an adaption of Hamlet without all of the silly conventions that these filmmakers put upon themselves. It doesn’t hurt the film, I just don’t know if it helps. I wouldn’t want to get rid of the dialogue or remove its olde tyme flavor, because it works pretty well, but don’t feel beholden to some dead guy.

Ok, that sidetrack is over now. Finally, I just want to comment on the shaky cam that Fiennes (wearing his director hat) uses. It feels immediate without making me nauseous, which is good. It doesn’t detract from the few action scenes nor the more intimate moments. It gives great power to Coriolanus’ monologue right after he is banished from Rome. It’s shot in one take but he moves around and addresses the crowd and the camera follows him, not quite sure where he’s going to go next nor what he is going to do when he gets there. Often these adaptations end up feeling very stiff, with the actors struggling to get out the words and the camera not complicating matters with anything beyond kinda boring setups. Fiennes imbues the camera with an immediacy, a modern aesthetic that makes the movie come alive. It’s nothing groundbreaking or unusual, just look at half the action movies and a quarter of the drama films today, but it is nice to see him do something unexpected with Shakes. Take chances, make mistakes. Do whatever you want with his stuff. It worked out for him and I’m glad, but I’m even more glad he tried.

B+.