Ending the semester the way it started with Richard III

The play that I decided to watch for this assignment was the Hollow Crown’s version of Richard III. I thoroughly enjoyed this play when we first read it at the beginning of the semester, and I feel that this is my favorite out of all of the tragedy plays besides Hamlet. The beginning of the movie was quite powerful with how they start by showing Richard’s deformed back. It leaves a powerful statement that this is the first thing that the audience is exposed to. However, I will say that the asides came across as a bit awkward at first. I had a love hate relationship with how the asides were executed in this production. It was weird having Richard staring directly into the camera and talking straight at the audience. I feel as though it was really fourth wall breaking and a bit too direct. However, I feel as though this would have felt more natural if it were done in an actual play setting. I feel like a play could get away with that but when it’s a movie it can break the immersion in the play. Also, the scene with Anne and Richard was interestingly different. In this version, she is visiting her husband’s grave; whereas, in the play she is actually mourning over his body which is in a casket. I feel like by having her visiting his grave it really plays down how creepy Richard is by essentially tying to woe her in front of her husbands dead body. In this version, the whole interaction felt a little bit less creepy and more natural. I loved Margaret’s performance. She was absolutely wonderful in this version. I will admit that in her first appearance she definitely came across as a bit more crazy to me compared to when I was just reading the play. She looks pretty crazy when you actually see her carrying around a painting of her son hanging around her neck so she can shove it in peoples faces to make them uneasy. However, her dialogue was powerful in every scene that she had. It was really exciting to actually see everything unfold and to have visuals to the actual setting. It was really powerful to see as Richard cleared the path to the crown by getting rid of anyone that could stand in his way. It was really great to actually see the development of Buckingham’s character. He stayed by Richards side and played a key role in helping Richard get to the crown. However, as cunning as he was the second that Richard wished for the young princes to be killed that was when you see Buckinghams loyalty begin to waver. The scene was really powerful because you actually get to see how his expression changes when he hears this order. He went from being rather proud of all the deeds he has played a hand in, but immediately you see he has a conscience and the thought of killing children was too much for him. Also, being witness to Richard’s decline in control. Gradually he began to lose his mind and you could see that once he became king he became paranoid that he would lose it all. The ring clacking that they used in the movie, although somewhat annoying, really gives the audience not only visional cues but also auditory cues to his unraveling. Being able to hear the clacking as it transitioned to the scenes of the princes being killed and Richmond marching towards England I think was a good affect. The final battle scene with Richmond and Richard was fantastic. It was really shocking and brutal watching Richard get slain and it was the most graphic death in the movie because all the other characters were killed off screen. Actually witnessing Richard be killed honestly made me feel bad for him even though I know that he did deserve to die. It was interesting that they kept using images of Margaret haunting Richard when his paranoia began to grow, and in his final moments she is the last one he sees. All in all, I thought this production did a pretty good job, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. It was nice to actually see for the first time a play being acted out to add context and witness the characters raw emotions as the shift and change. The final shot of this movie where it pans out showing the countless bodies that litter the battlefield really gives you that reminder that not only did the royals suffer from this conflict but the War of the Roses cost countless lives all in the sake of the crown.

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