As with most Shakespeare tragedies, it is difficult to make the magnificent play "Othello" into a film without making it seeming overly dramatic and haughty. This film is neither,and draws you in from the first scene taking place on a dark night in Venice.
When a director takes on a Shakespeare play, he has a slight advantage in that he already has an incredible stroy to work with that he does not have to (and should not) alter it at all.
The daunting part is finding actors who can play these characters, who have been read about and loved for centuries.
Laurence Fishburne's Othello is more sympathetic and noble than many would imagine the play's Othello to be. This works out nicely, as the viewer feels for Othello the entire time, and fears his downfall. Fishburne makes a remarkable transition in the film, and his love for Desdemona is very convincing.
Desdemona (Irene Jacob) is the picture of innocence and love. Irene Jacob and Laurence Fishburne have a great on-screen connection.
Kenneth Branagh (who plays Iago) brings yet another eye-catching Shakespeare character to the screen. He plays Iago with restrained anger and hate...you can see it bubbling through his calm demeanor.
If you enjoyed this film, you must rent Branagh's other Shakespeare films such as "Much Ado About Nothing" if you are in the mood for a comedy, or "Henry V" for an emotional epic.
Rated R for Sexuality and some violence