Lear is one of those roles (the other is Prospero) that looms in the destiny of notable Shakespearian actors. Olivier tackled it. Gielgud (whose advice to a younger Ian McKellan, we are told, was "get a small Cordelia"), Scofield, Stewart, when an actor with in the classical repertory reaches a certain age, the challenge he faces is whether or not do Lear. Hopkins takes this on with all his considerable skill and force, and for my taste delivers beautifully. Ably supported by a very good cast drawn from the almost bottomless pool of English talent, he portrays the spiteful, short-sighted old king who banishes Cordelia and Kent at the beginning of the piece, the king who finds his power deserting him in the face of opposition from Goneril and Regan in the next arc of the plot, the bereft old man descending into the madness he so fears, and the shattered man at the end, with range and power. Lear is not a one-man show, but without a tremendously strong Lear you don't have a play (same goes for so many of Shakespeare's best pieces - Hamlet, Macbeth. Richard III). Hopkins hits the essential peak at the last scene, with those two famous lines of one word repeated. "Howl. Howl. Howl." and. utterly broken at last: "Never. Never. Never." These are language as music, almost in the abstracl, like sacred chant in their power, and he delivers them spot on. I was very pleased with this film and these performances.
Drama / History
Drama / History
An aging King invites disaster, when he abdicates to his corrupt, toadying daughters, and rejects his loving and honest one.
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April 3, 2019