This has been one of my favourite films since it’s release back in 1993, until then at the age of 17 I didn’t have much interest in the works of Shakespeare – I found them, like I’m sure most teenagers do, rather dry and boring. But dry and boring this film is not! From it’s very opening it is visually stunning and so colourful and full of fun. Instantly when the characters begin the dialogue they make the language of Shakespeare understandable and witty. Kenneth Branagh is a master at this I have come to understand but watching his onscreen pairing with his then wife Emma Thompson is beautiful and they bounce off each other wonderfully as Benedict and Beatrice.
This film represented Kate Beckinsdale’s first big screen role when she was relatively unknown and she makes a perfect Hero, innocent, exceptionally beautiful but full of sensitivity. Her pairing with Robert Sean Leonard (who has been largely overlooked on the big screen which is a diservice to his acting abilities), is good and they make us trully buy into the heartbreak of their difficult union.
The true star of this film however is Keanu Reeves as the villain, for us ladies the scene where he is being massaged near the start of the movie is a true joy in cinemascope! He plays the tortured and jealous brother with perfection and although a smaller role in the movie than many he makes the screen come alive in each of his scenes.