Actually, it seems that the complete name of the film, according to the artwork on the Blu-ray's cover, is "Derek Jarman's Adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest." And I shall begin by saying that if you are a Shakespeare fan, you may enjoy what veteran English director Derek Jarman did with the play. As for yours truly, after struggling with what has been described elsewhere as "quasi-Elizabethan linguistics," which could make it difficult to understand the plot, I can say that I enjoyed it thanks to the action and delightful cinematography, which slowly unveiled the whole thing for me. This is truly poetry in film, in every sense of the word.
Right from the beginning we meet Prospero, the magician (Heathcote Williams); his ready-to-marry-and-have-sex daughter Miranda (Toyah Willcox); and Caliban, the slave - annoying, I should add -- (Jack Birkett, in my favorite performance). The three of them live in a castle on an island, in exile, as dictated by Prospero's brother, Sebastian (Neil Cunningham), and Alonso, the King of Naples (Peter Bull). Prospero does have a temper, and punishes anybody that arrives to the island. As fate dictates, the first unexpected visitor is the king's son, Ferdinand (David Meyer), who Prospero immediately makes a prisoner. Ferdinand, who arrives to the island and the castle naked as a result of a shipwreck, ignites Miranda's ready-to-burn-passions. Soon thereafter, other people begin to arrive to the island, including Sebastian and Alonso. All this makes Caliban happy, and he proceeds to plan getting rid of his master. This volatile mix of characters provide for a delicious and legendary ending, including a much celebrated wedding party, with the participation of musical comedy star Elisabeth Welch.
"The Tempest" is a modern take of Shakespeare's final famous play. It is magical, colorful, dark, erotic and surreal at the same time. Give it a try; you'll be engaged and educated at the same time -- a good take on a classic by the late Derek Jarman. The Blu-ray includes Jarman's short films "A Journey to Avebury" (1971), "Garden of Luxor" (1972), and "Art of Mirrors" (1973). (UK, 1979, color, 95 min plus additional materials). Reviewed on September 11, 2012. Kino Classics Blu-ray.
Reviewed on September 11, 2012 by Eric Gonzales for Kino Classics Blu-ray.