Othello (1995)

One of the best film adaptations of Othello that I have seen is Oliver Parker’s Othello. It hit the big screen in 1995, when I was 2. Laurence Fishburne, plays the Moor in perfect fashion. Kenneth Branagh is as menacing and cunning as Iago is meant to be portrayed. Irene Jacob plays Desdemona is as desperate and lovable as the original character. Nathaniel Parker is a suave and debonair Cassio. The rest of the cast is great as well. It is the way the play was meant to look, in my opinion. The dialogue is very close to the original script, it’s not abridged very much, and all the characters do their parts so eloquently. The scene in Act III where Othello is raving and demanding that Desdemona produce the handkerchief very intense because of Fishburne’s delivery. He has a booming voice, and if you saw him in other movies you know how scary he can be. I think Irene Jacob’s mousey appearance sells the story that Desdemona is just a victim in Iago’s schemes. Which Kenneth Branagh does an amazing delivery especially with the monoloques where he stares into the camera out into the audience to send his craziness out into the world. I also love that they kept the setting in Venice and medieval/renassiance fashion and style. I hate when they rewrite the plays to make them in a more modern setting, like that horrible version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo Dicaprio. Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a 63% (6.3/10) but I would give it a 200% because I just love how it is done. It was the first Othello I watched back in 8th grade, and it is the one I would pick over all the rest! Unless Barack Obama ever played Othello, I would pay to see that!

~Alexandra Watkins


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