Titus is based heavily from Shakespeare’s lesser known plays Titus Andronicus which is about a story of a downfall of a Roman general. The movie is Julie Taymor’s movie, her directorial debut. I’ve been a fan of The Beatles for so long and it seemed quite natural that Across the Universe would be included in my must see movies list. At first I was only a fan of the music but as I was watching Across, I became a fan of the director too. The tone is very different with Titus but it has the same artistic courage that you will seldom see in movie directors these days. Taymor is unleashed in her movies, with no control from anyone, she does what she likes and it becomes satisfying entertainment to those who crave it.
Her version of Shakespeare’s play may be seen as a period piece, but viewing the film, it transcends different timelines from the time of the Romans, to fascist Italy, and next week. The director isn’t trying to pull some artsy fartsy movie technique; all she wants to do is relate Shakespeare, a playwright who has lived ages before us, to our present. Titus may be old Will’s very first play, at it may be evident to the centering of violence and bloodshed that was too much for people at that time (the next play Macbeth was more soothing and entertaining for people in the Victorian era). This violence was the reason why Titus resonates to us in the present. In this time of ours is where black comedy is so much appreciated, violence glorified and it was so fitting that the director transcended every time piece possible.
Anthony Hopkins is Titus and I’m a big fan of Mr. Hopkins’ work but his acting on this movie is too much Hannibal Lecterish for me. The real star of the movie was Jessica Lange who was born to play the role of Tamora, a mother who doesn’t know who to limit her love. These affected Chiron and Demetrius played by Jonathan Rhys Myers and Matthew Rhys respectively who both have been excellent as spoiled murderous brothers.
The movie’s shock value is really high as it portrays murder, revenge, and sex. If the actors, the Director, and the whole crews’s desire was to make Titus one of the most known Shakespearean plays then they have not fully accomplished it. What I would say is that, they got the people’s attention.