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Titus: This film is an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "Titus Andronicus." Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family. Who says revenge is sweet?

  • Currently 3.33/5
(82 votes)
Ratings: IMDB: 7.3/10 Metascore: 57% RT: 68%
Released: December 25, 1999
Runtime: 162 mins
Genres: Drama War Fantasy
Countries: Italy USA UK
Director: Julie Taymor
Actors: Alan Cumming Angus Macfadyen Anthony Hopkins Antonio Manzini Blake Ritson Bruno Bilotta Christopher Ahrens Colm Feore Constantine Gregory Dario D'Ambrosi Emanuele Vezzoli Ettore Geri Geraldine McEwan Giacomo Gonnella Harry Lennix Hermann Weisskopf James Frain Jessica Lange Jonathan Rhys Meyers Kenny Doughty Laura Fraser Leonardo Treviglio Matthew Rhys Raz Degan Tresy Taddei

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Titus Comments

Posted by parastoned 5 years, 3 months ago
+8 | +11 / -3

I teach Shakespeare sometimes, and I am a bona fide critic, so let me respond. First, I do sympathize with people who find this film unpleasant, boring, revolting, and so forth. It's not a film for every taste. Nevertheless, from the standpoint of Shakespearian drama, especially as it has been represented in several extraordinary films in the past twenty years or so, Titus strikes me as simply brilliant. First, as an example of Elizabethan revenge tragedy, Titus comes across in this film treatment as much finer than any other play that I am familiar with in the genre. (Read, for example and comparison, The Spanish Tragedy, or The Revenger's Tragedy. There are a number of others.) The director, and the stellar cast, make Shakespeare's play an even better play than some revisionist Shakespeare scholars are starting to suggest it might be. (Titus Andronicus has never had a good reputation among Shakespearians--but it seems to be undergoing a scholarly-fashion makeover among professional critics.) Second, while the play is (like all revenge tragedies) excessively gory, the production design of the film allows us to sit through this horror by enabling us to develop, through a variety of distancing techniques (including wicked humor), a protective layer of detachment--all the while bringing us to a vivid recognition (which we share with the child as his realization unfolds) that violence, real violence, is truly horrifying. This is something that Elizabethans needed to "get," and it is something that modern-day people also, in my opinion, need to "get." This alone, I think, makes Titus an important addition to the canon of Shakespeare's plays on film. Shakespeare virtually always teaches us something important--something we need to learn, but also something we need to DO something about. Titus leaves us feeling shaken, as we should feel shaken by real violence. Most revenge tragedies do not achieve this effect--they provide spectacle, but not edification. Shakespeare really enhances the form in this play--he shows us how the form (or genre) of revenge tragedy can be important. I have only just seen the film for the first time, and have had no time to compare the film to the text of the play; but I hope I will find that the adaptation is as intelligent as it seems to be. Still, even if the adaptation has IMPROVED the play, what harm? One can only applaud, if this is the case. Third, and finally, Titus gives us our only chance to see Anthony Hopkins on film in a major Shakespearian role, and this makes the film, to me, a pearl past price. As fine a stage actor as he is (and surely he is, especially, one of the greatest Shakespearian actors of the late 20th Century), Anthony Hopkins nonetheless has nearly stopped doing work in the theatre, and for excellent reasons. Yet, what a loss to our culture, to miss this extraordinary thespian as a stage presence, particularly in Shakespearian roles! The film makes up for this loss, in a small degree. At very least, we get to hear one of the great interpreters of Shakespeare's language working at the top of his form. I suspect that, as a student of film, you could learn a lot by studying the play Titus Andronicus, and studying how Julie Taymor adapted it for filming. It is a thrilling, avant garde piece of work--revolutionary in what it dares, and stunning in what it achieves. I hope you'll revisit it. Thanks for listening. An afterthought occurs: Recently I received from Sony Pictures a gorgeous, glossy, multi-page flyer advertising the availability, soon, of the DVD of The Merchant of Venice, which recently received an important film treatment. The film is being marketed to teachers of Shakespeare as a teaching tool. As soon as I read through the flyer, and realized that once again Shylock has been made the focal point of the production, I thought of Anthony Hopkins and wished that he were a normal person with whom one might correspond, instead of a star who is virtually "untouchable," that is, incommunicado in relation to the world at large. Because, after seeing him in Titus, as well as in his many more normal film roles, I realized that he, of all living Shakespearian actors, is uniquely qualified to attempt a version of Merchant that featured Antonio, the title character (played by Hopkins), as the play's central and hence focal character. Such an interpretation would highlight the lesson Shakespeare has to teach about the destructive effects of man's inhumanity toward man--especially when the setting is a Christian setting. Because, of course, not only is Shylock destroyed, but Antonio himself, too--no change occurs for him from beginning to end, and in Shakespeare, stasis is the equivalent of death, including the death of the spirit. Antonio never "gets" what has happened to him. Everyone always assumes that Antonio's melancholy at the beginning and ending of the play is the result of his unrequited passion for Bassanio, even though this interpretation is only barely supported in the play. What if his melancholy were, instead, the result of spiritual degradation that had gone unrecognized and unchecked, and that REMAINS unrecognized by the end of Antonio's ordeal in the play? Anthony Hopkins could do this, he could make us SEE it, even between the lines--and what a film it would make! So, if you know anybody in "the business," do us all a favor and make sure that somehow, somebody makes this suggestion to the actor. If given the chance to do Shakespeare on film again, who knows? Perhaps he'd find the idea, the challenge, intriguing.

Posted by Dragormir 5 years ago
+3 | +3 / -0

Titus is a bit of a mindscrew, but less so than the adaptation of Romeo and Juliet starring Leo DiCaprio. This blends a bit of the old world of Shakespeare's play with the modern world, creating something wholly unique...if a bit confusing. If you can wrap your mind around the Shakespearean English, it's an entertaining watch. Anthony Hopkins does an amazing job as Titus, including the scenes where he's utterly crazy. The movie is good, and it has James Frain, which makes it better. 5/5

Posted by ThatOneGirl 6 years ago
+3 | +4 / -1

Captivating and visually stunning, this widescreen film is a beauty. 'Titus' may definitely not be for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, but the purely modern way in which the original play is presented in this particular film version surely underlines the timelessness that is Shakespeare. A favorite from the start. 10/10

Posted by huskyclaw 3 years, 11 months ago
+2 | +2 / -0

I really enjoyed the mixture of modern and period themes. Very interesting.

Posted by Matty_castaway 6 years, 6 months ago ( Edited 6 years, 6 months ago )
+2 | +2 / -0

Quite a surreal telling of Shakespeare's play. I can't help feeling if they had made it 'believable' in setting it would have been better. Hard to watch if you miss most of what is said because of the old English. **

Posted by EraseTheHate 5 years, 1 month ago
+1 | +2 / -1

This movie was kind of confusing, I really didn't understand what time period it was suppose to be in. And I didn't really enjoy all the talking that much. But the acting was very good, and the sets, and costumes were brilliant. Very strange movie, in a good way! Well worth watching.

Posted by the_bubbleh 6 years, 4 months ago
+0 | +1 / -1

It was a little bit confusing because of it's mix between the modern and the old world. If you already don't understand the Shakespearean language, you really won't understand this movie. That being said, I don't think anything with Anthony Hopkins is bad, so I thought it was entertaining.

Posted by zzarra22 6 years ago
-2 | +2 / -4

I just Love Sir Anthony Hopkins, but hated this movie....it didnt matter that it had shakespearian language in it......it was the WEIRDEST movie I have ever seen....I wouldnt watch this again if Anthony himself begged me too....I am being generous when I give this movie a 1/10.....Not my cup of tea at all....

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