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King Lear

Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 28, 2015

Awesome. Everything attains real magnitude, while nothing is remotely inflated. Everything is bold, but there’s nothing at all of recklessness, and not a misstep to be seen. The setting is monumental. The cinematography is equal to it. The set pieces—the initial division of property, the first confrontation with the infidel daughters, the moor, the reconciliation, that appalling conclusion—are thunderous, but every small thing is exquisitely turned, and in its own way equal. And these performances!

Is there some special Soviet subtext? Well, there are a lot of displaced serfs, and the king’s discovery of his complicity in this systemic problem is quite pointed. But that is in the text, isn’t it? The purist or the completist might regret cuts that Kozintsev made, but not really for completist or purist reasons. Sure there are lacunae, but the biggest problem is more that every cut means that much less of this precious, portentous movie. Awesome.