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Titus
     

Titus

4.4 12
Director: Julie Taymor

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming

 

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One of William Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, Titus Andronicus was staged in New York by award-winning theatrical director Julie Taymor in an acclaimed 1995 production, before her widely praised Broadway version of The Lion King. Taymor revisits that production for her first motion picture, with the addition of a star-studded

Overview

One of William Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, Titus Andronicus was staged in New York by award-winning theatrical director Julie Taymor in an acclaimed 1995 production, before her widely praised Broadway version of The Lion King. Taymor revisits that production for her first motion picture, with the addition of a star-studded cast. Roman General Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins) has returned from defeating the Goths in a bloody battle, but the victory has left him with mixed feelings, as the war took the lives of several of his sons. Titus is reminded by his first-born son Lucius (Angus Macfadyen) that their faith demands the sacrifice of an enemy prisoner as a gift to the gods for their victory. Titus chooses the eldest son of Tamora (Jessica Lange), the Queen of the Goths, who has since been taken hostage by Titus's troops. Tamora pleads for her son's life, but Titus goes ahead with the sacrifice. She then becomes the lover of the new emperor of Rome, Saturninus (Alan Cumming), a weak-willed and corrupt man. Tamora uses her connection to the throne for her own ends: in retaliation for the death of her son, Tamora and her surviving sons, Chiron (Jonathan Rhys Myers) and Demetrius (Matthew Rhys), brutally rape Titus's beloved daughter, Lavinia (Laura Fraser). This act sets in motion an ever-tightening spiral of revenge and retaliation that leaves few of the participants unscathed. The supporting cast includes Colm Feore as Marcus, Harry Lennix as Aaron, and James Frain as Bassianus.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Acclaimed theater director Julie Taymor (The Lion King) mixes the traditional and modern with abandon in her brilliant, blood-soaked and occasionally black-comic adaptation of one of Shakespeare's lesser-known and most controversial plays, Titus Andronicus. Anthony Hopkins stars as Titus, a Roman general who returns home from war with the Goths only to be caught up in an exchange of increasingly outrageous acts of vengeance. The spectacularly stylized production, designed by Dante Feretti (Interview with the Vampire), moves easily between period and modern settings, even as the soundtrack moves from jazz to Wagner. Hopkins gives a virtuoso performance in the lead, careening through a stunning range of pride, deep despair, and outright lunacy. Jessica Lange plays Titus's foe, Tamora, the Goth queen who becomes the Roman empress, with a menacing femininity helped along by her exotically sexy costumes. Titus is a truly wild ride, as the violence ultimately escalates to alarming proportions of rape and mutilation. Titus's final revenge even has some gruesome shades of Hopkins's most famous screen role, Hannibal Lechter.
All Movie Guide
Best known for her groundbreaking costume design on Broadway's The Lion King, Julie Taymor brings equally arresting visuals to Titus, her take on William Shakespeare's bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus. In her directorial debut, Taymor displays a bag of tricks one might expect from a seasoned auteur, making for a grand, lush production that feels very much of the moment. Starting with the blue war paint smeared on Anthony Hopkins' face, Taymor splashes color throughout locales that better resemble a timeless fantasy world than ancient Rome, such that the film pulses with life. Taymor even uses the freeze-and-spin camera effect popularized by The Matrix during the film's violent denouement -- yet another of many indicators that the play's themes are divorced from a specific place and time. She doesn't shy away from the extreme bloodiness of the play, which scholars consider one of Shakespeare's weakest, perhaps because the excessive murders, rapes, and tortures aren't redeemed by memorable dialogue. It's not always an easy film to watch -- near the play's end, two characters are butchered and served in a meat pie -- and it's definitely not appropriate for children. Less an exercise in interpreting a play than bringing a painting to life, Titus is worth seeing not only for its visual sense, but for typically strong performances from Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Angus MacFadyen, and particularly Harry Lennix, who seethes hauntingly as the villain Aaron. It also marks a splashy debut from a director who proves herself master of multiple media.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/18/2006
UPC:
0024543233640
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
R
Source:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen, Color]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
2:42:00
Sales rank:
21,531

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentaries by Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal; Scene-specific commentary by Anthony Hopkins and Harry Lennix; Q&A with Julie Taymore; Costume gallery; 49-minute documentary; Theatrical trailers

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony Hopkins Titus Andronicus
Jessica Lange Tamora
Alan Cumming Saturninus
Harry J. Lennix Aaron
Colm Feore Marcus
Angus MacFadyen Lucius
James Frain Bassianus
Kenny Doughty Quintus
Laura Fraser Lavinia
Constantine Gregory Aemilius
Osheen Jones Young Lucius
Geraldine McEwan Nurse
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Chiron
Matthew Rhys Demetrius
Blake Ritson Mutius
Colin Wells Martius

Technical Credits
Julie Taymor Director,Screenwriter,Producer
Massimo Razzi Art Director
Domenico Sica Art Director
Luciano Tovoli Cinematographer
Milena Canonero Costumes/Costume Designer
Dante Ferretti Production Designer
Elliot Goldenthal Score Composer
Carlo Gervasi Set Decoration/Design
Mark Bisgeier Associate Producer
Brad Moseley Associate Producer
Karen L. Thorson Associate Producer
Antonio Brandt Asst. Director
Guy Travers Asst. Director
Irene Lamb Casting
Ellen Lewis Casting
Adam Leipzig Co-producer
Michiyo Yoshizaki Co-producer
Françoise Bonnot Editor
Paul G. Allen Executive Producer
Stephen K. Bannon Executive Producer
Ellen Dinerman Little Executive Producer
Robbie Little Executive Producer
Conchita Airoldi Producer
Jody Patton Producer
Blake Leyh Sound Editor,Sound/Sound Designer
David A. Stephenson Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Titus, Disc 1
1. Childish Things
2. Return to Rome (Opening Credits)
3. Tomb Andronici
4. Enter Lavinia
5. A Head on Headless Rome
6. Saturninus Takes the Throne
7. Titus Slays Mutius/A New Empress
8. Dishonor
9. Bacchanal
10. Seeds of Vengeance Sown
11. Tamora's Accent
12. What Storm Is This?/Conspiracy
13. The Hunt/Aaron's Stratagem
14. A Wilderness of Tigers
15. Quintus and Martius Ensnared
16. Lavinia's Fate
17. I Tell My Sorrows to the Stones
18. The King's Ransom
19. A Time to Storm
20. Prosthetic Branches
21. Opposing Camps
22. Lavinia's Sorrows Printed Plain [3:12]
23. Titus' Gift/Aaron's Child [2:07]
24. The Goddess of Justice Has Left the Earth [3:57]
25. Saturninus Before the Senate [1:31]
26. Lucius Before the Goths
27. Aaron's Confession
28. A Visit From Revenge
29. Preparing for the Feast
30. Just Desserts
31. The Uses of Vengeance/Renewal
32. Curtain (End Credits)
Disc #2 -- Titus, Disc 2
1. Opening
2. Greetings
3. Art Show
4. The First Read-Through
5. Cinecitta's Reverie
6. Exercises & Rehearsals
7. Principal Photography
8. Scoring
9. Rehearsing the Chorale
10. Performance of Main Title Theme
11. Parting Thought

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4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I suppose that if I learned anything from "Titus," it's that blind allegiance to anything, be it an ideal, a form of government, or a particular person, is a fatal flaw. The real wonder of this play is that everyone in it shows both the capacity for great affection and tenderness (sometimes towards others, sometimes towards Rome, sometimes towards themselves) and the capacity for great cruelty. So there's no clear hero and no clear villain (I suppose that that's why this isn't staged that often, plus people seem to find it too grisly, which is a big naive yawn -- there's nothing here that doesn't happen in Grand Theft Auto -- San Andreas or Silent Hill). Taymor's conceptualization is brilliant, and it's a pleasure to watch and to hear. So it's a bit bloody -- the purpose of that is to illustrate the human capacity for violence, sometimes mindless, often intentional, and to make us question the line between our "loftier" behavior and our animal behavior -- after all, a character gets disemboweled and hewed to pieces in the name of duty and honor. Also, check out the commentaries and the bonus features -- well worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anthony Hopkins is absolutely phenomenal in everything he does. But as Titus he is able to make me sympathetic to a man who makes two bad decisions that ruin his life and the life of just about everyone in the story (for a great leader, I would think he'd have seen some of it coming). It's grotesque, it's horrific and disturbing to the utmost degree. ''Silence of the Lambs'' is nothing to this. But strangely enough, as I watched the film in horror, I discovered myself more involved with this story and with these characters than I have been in a really long time. Even now I can't stop thinking about it. I'm enthralled. This is not a movie for those with weak hearts (or stomachs). It's a movie for fans of Sir Anthony Hopkins who wish to see him at his finest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ashtonishing, visually amazing. I watched it 2 years ago and am still in shock.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Staggering film adaptation of Shakespeare's cruel,violent early play that must rank as one of the most visually astounding of all films in the past twenty years.There is barely a shot or a camera composition that doesn't deserve to be hung in an art gallery and viewed with awe. Powerfully acted and very daring in it's mixture of ancient and modern (see the young boy's 'entrance' into the story and the shock the viewer first feels at motorbikes riding along in a procession!!),this runs the gamut between subtle,outrageously OTT,heartbreaking,cruel,all life is here.... Most of the praise gets rightly heaped on Hopkins for a forceful display of madness,cruelty and despair,but look to to Jessica Lange for a formidable range of emotions..the scene where she is egging her son's onto the rape and mutilation of Lavinia mixes outright brutality with the sudden motherly realisation of the evil she is authoring..plaudits,too,to Alan Cumming,a bizarre mixture of Boy George and the MC from CABARET! Truly undervalued,I echo above comments as to why people seem ignorant of this film. Here in the UK it has just been released on dvd after a five year wait...and don't get me started on the final (three minute) shot,a possible nomination for the most perfectly orchestrated and unusually moving closing moment in all cinema. See this thing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Titus Andronicus was a big hit in Shakespeare's time, but has since been repudiated for its revolting carnage, which includes rape, murder, mutilation, even cannibalism. (Imagine Anthony Hopkins in a movie with cannibalism!) It takes the likes of Julie Taymor, Elliot Goldenthal, Cinnecita, and a cast of bewildering excellence to make this stew of horror into a thing that is both gorgeous to see and hear and then rewarding to contemplate. Beware: this is not some mediocre period piece with chariot races and hokey gladiators oozing cgi. This is for people with brains and hearts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am constantly astonished that more people do not know about this movie. Wonderfully directed and beatifully acted, this is perhaps one of the best silver screen renditions of any Shakesperean play. Anthony Hopkins is surrounded by a strong supporting casts and gives a wonderful and deep performance in his Title role of Titus Andromicus. The play is an often overlooked but still wonderful play by Shakespere and obviously beatifully written. The direction of Julie Taylor only adds to the movie and wonderfully portrays visually the beauty of Shakespere's incredible language and imagry. This movie is a beautifully viseral and intelligant trip across what is really evil and good in the world and I highly recommend it.
Nick31 More than 1 year ago
amazing cast, it's a Julie Taymore film so you know it's going to be thought provoking, Anthony Hopkins is his usual amazing self, just an all around strong film
Guest More than 1 year ago
The directing, composition, colors, everything is superb visually, it is not often you can judge a film based on visual aspects, but that is mere frosting on the cake compaired to the acting. The acting is amazing. Simply one of the best movie casts I have ever seen, and more than that, they all have extreme talent in both traditional and contemporary genres. And lastly the binding element is that of sound, the music is... well really its so wonderful theres no one word that can describe it, it has all of the best elements from all musical genres, classical, jazz, and even industrial. There is nothing quite like Titus out there, it is truly one of a kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julie Taymor's adaptation of one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays comes short in everything except the acting. This is due mainly to Julie Taymor's poor direction and choice of scenery: lacking any vision or purpose as to what theme she wants to convey by choosing such over-the-top disconjointed stage backgrounds. The story revolves around the Roman general Titus Andronicus (Anthony Hopkins) who returns to avenge the death of his sons against Tamora(Jessica Lange), a Gothic queen who has seduced the new emperor to advance her own ambitions. Factions form and a bitter power struggle ensues with murder, rape, incest, and cannibalism. This great play was horribly mutilated by Julie Taymor's pretentious attempts at using flashy montages that had no point or message other than for shock value and being pretentiously provocative. Taymor carelessly mixes modern motifs with traditional ones (e.g. motorcycles and guns with togas and swords, etc.) and turns the play into a pseudo-intellectual farce. Such techniques are hardly new and were effectively used by film makers who, unlike Taymor, had a point to make. Fellini sparingly (emphasis added) used some futuristic costumes and designs in his 'Satyricon' to convey the theme that the norms of ancient Rome were both strangely distant yet peculiarly near to those of our post-industrial culture. More recently in a modern adaptation of 'Richard III', Richard Loncraine changes the context of Shakespere's play into an imagined England which succombs to the fascism of the 1930s. Here Loncraine's approach is less symbolic than Fellini and simply transplants Shakespeare's entire play into the future. Unlike the latter films Taymor seems to want to imitate the techniques of her predecessors while forgetting why these techniques were used. The formidable acting of Antohny Hopkins and Jessica Lange is therefore suffocated along with the story itself by a careless attempt at shocking the audience without clear purpose. Kind of like a pulp-murder movie, the audience is inundated with the pointless shock of blood scenes only to forget who the characters were or what the story was really about. In terms of Shakespeare adaptations, I prefer Brannagh's 'Henry V' and similar works a lot more than this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
See this film and you will know why few attribute it to Shakepeare. The language is grim and lifeless. The play is very violent and pointlessly so.