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Actors: Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, Josh Hartnett, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Genres: Drama, Sports, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 35min

A retelling of Othello, Shakespeare's tale of jealousy and mistrust, this time set in a modern day high school.

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Movie Details

Actors: Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, Josh Hartnett, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Creators: Anthony Rhulen, Betsy Danbury, Brad Kaaya, Daniel Fried, Eric Gitter, William Shakespeare
Genres: Drama, Sports, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Basketball, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/18/2003
Original Release Date: 08/31/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 08/31/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Christine T. from APPLE VALLEY, CA
Reviewed on 10/23/2009...
i love julia stiles movies!

Movie Reviews

Josh Hartnett only real reason to watch,OTHERWISE!
Sylvia T. Bosarge | Mobile,AL. USA | 06/30/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"5 stars for JOSH HARTNETT'S stunning,tour de force portrayal of the WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE villian Iago(renamed Hugo for the film),but only
just a star for the actual movie itself.First of all,I would like to
mention that this film had ENORMOUS POTENTIAL!But unfortunately,Hollywood
once again commited the outright ACT OF SACRILEGE to the TRUE WORKS OF
SHAKESPEARE by setting his "OTHELLO" in present day NORTH AMERICA!Not
only that,they once again resort to throwing in every modern OBSCENE
thing with the exception of your proverbial KITCHEN SINK just to draw
VIOLENCE!Yepper,that'll draw'em all in!PUUUUUUUUH-LEEEEEEASE!If they kept the same AWESOME cast of young thespians,were strictly faithful to SHAKESPEARE'S original,and had it set in the right time
period,the movie would be a TRUE CONTENDER without question!!!!!!!!"
From Shakespeare's poetry to monosyllabic grunts
Lady Prudence | New York | 01/30/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Although this movie takes place in a high school, I could never show this film to my high school English Class.

First of all, there's the language. I could take the occasional "f" word for emphasis, but these kids (and even the teacher) speak in nothing but monosyllabic grunts -- are they even remotely interested in sounding like educated, intelligent people? Every other scene has repeated f words and g-damns so profusely done it's embarrassing. To go from Shakespeare's sublime poetry to this shows how, on some level, culturally backward we've become. If I ever spoke to one of my students the way Martin Sheen's character talks to his students I'd get fired.

Secondly between the drug use, violence and gratuitous sex scenes --is this what adults think of teens? Showing unmarried teens having sex is almost a perverse pedophiliac peep-show; there is no moral context (Othello was an adult married to Desdemona, which places the relationship in an entirely different context and Shakespeare never shows them having sex) here. What are we teaching teens, that this behavior is acceptable? The idea of real, mature love, or commitment is never presented here (oh, yes, there is that scene when O places a rubberband on his girl's ring finger -- how profound). O is a kind of too-good-to-be true, wide-eyed, unbelievably innocent stock character without depth or intelligence. The plot is only superficially related to Shakespeare's Othello, with the main character not nearly as memorable or tragic. In fact, O is a big bore interesting only when he's shooting hoops. This film is pure tripe about horny teenagers in the American South which is, of course, according to Hollywood, still racist beyond belief; the film is full of stereotypes and is an insult to teenagers and teachers everywhere --to say nothing of the Immortal Bard himself.

If you are going to make a movie about teens, at least try to illustrate some understanding of the complexities and deep conflicts that goes on in the minds of teenagers; if you are going to discuss racial issues there clearly are more profound discussions than O explaining why he could say the "n" word while his white girlfriend can't. The genius of Shakespeare is the way he tackles these issues through his characters and language -- Romeo and Juliet deals with teenagers, their insecurities, their raging hormones, hatred, bigotry and tragedy i a masterful way. O the film tries to be Othello-meets-Romeo and Juliet but the task is too big for the director.

Skip it. Buy it, if you must, for the silent version of Othello on CD 2 -- you won't hear Shakespeare's poetry, but at least you won't have to cover your ears in pain."