Titus is based on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, which is an extremely bloody and terrifying tale of vengeance and its consequences. The cinematic adaptation that Julie Taymor wrote is set in a Roman Empire-like environment with crossings of ancient and modern as the mise-en-scene displays cars as well as tanks with soldiers in ancient armor. This creates a link between then and now, which could suggest that the displayed horror is timeless and possible even today. Taymor creates exaggerations in this cinematic environment with brilliant cinematography, grand directing, and mise-en-scene that amplify the abstract atmosphere as it elevates the unnatural doings of Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins), Tamora (Jessica Lange), and Saturninus (Alan Cumming) among others. The Shakespearian violence that Taymor presents serves as the means to an end as the story plunges into a dark realm that most do not wish to visit, but must contemplate as it could have devastating effects on all.
The film opens with a scene where a young Lucius is sitting at the kitchen table, with a brown paper bag over his head, eating dinner while sadistically tearing the heads of his warrior dolls while violently smashing the items on the table and pouring ketchup over the "killed" dolls. This is followed by an explosion where Lucius dives bawling to the floor for protection. Lucius is a clear resemblance of his father Titus in the opening shot. The rest of the film is a carnival of hideous acts and morbid behavior that alll falls around Titus with a domino effect trigged by one wrong decision. Despite the distressing elements of Titus, the film offers a brilliant cinematic experience that devours the audience as it supplies several subplots and themes, which the audience should ponder under the light of human compassion and the word "consequences".