Othello Film Review

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Film Review: The Female Characters of Othello Othello is a tragic story about jealousy, manipulation and deceit. Othello, a highly esteemed general in the service of Venice decides to promote Cassio to the position of personal Lieutenant over Iago, his rather ambitious friend, so Iago, hurt by Othello’s choice, and blinded with jealousy begins an evil and malicious campaign against the hero. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, directed by Oliver Parker, cuts out much of the Shakespearian language and instead houses (in my opinion far too many) establishing shots and long dramatic pauses. Branagh and Fishburne both deliver excellent performances in this version of the Shakespeare classic; Branagh playing Iago better than other adaptations of the character in film or on stage that I’ve seen. Fishburne, ironically the first black Othello in film-history, also delivers a powerful performance, possibly one of his best, as the Moor of Venice. The one problem I have with this film is the omission of a number of important scenes. Desdemona's character (Iréne Jacob) is given far less depth than she has in the play, to the extent where I think she might as well have been cut out entirely. One of the most fatal cuts made by Parker in this film was the deduction of a conversation between Iago and Desdemona at the beginning of the second act; where we see that Desdemona may not be the innocent child that she’s portrayed as in this film. This lack of structure around Jacob’s character alters our perception on who her character is and what she stands for in the play. Desdemona’s confidence in the love she bears for Othello is what inspires her boldness and bluntness. Yet the passion of her love both arouses and unnerves her husband too, adding to the seeds of fear and suspicion. However, without us, the viewer, seeing this confidence from Jacob, she just looks like a

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