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After a long civil war between the royal families of York and Lancaster, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward IV. But Edward’s younger brother, Richard, resents the power and happiness around him. Malicious, power-hungry, and bitter about his physical deformity, Richard begins to aspire secretly to the throne—and decides to kill anyone he has to. Using his intelligence and his skills of deception and political manipulation, Richard manipulates a noblewoman into marrying him, has his own older brother executed, and accelerates King Edward’s illness and death.
The hollow crown: Richard III movie full length review - My kingdom for a horse
Richard III has a powerful interpretation by Benedict Cumberbatch who brings strong physical presence as the deformed, scheming prince who plans to wrest the crown away from his brothers. Early on we see Richard shirtless so we see his deformity.
Benedict talks to the camera as a friend seducing the audience. First in amazement as he persuades Lady Ann to warm to him when she started out hating him. As the play progresses we see him plotting some times accompanied by some tapping of his fingers on a chessboard.
The play is a tragedy, a lot of death take place off stage but the despot soon becomes haunted even regretful as heads to the Battle of Bosworth. At the end Sophie Okonedo's Queen Margaret haunts him the most as she wanders around the the battlefield in vengeful silence as the fallen bodies lie.
Despite the cinematic imagery and strong performances by the actors, I felt somewhat disappointed by the adaptation. I know Richard III is one of Shakespeare's strongest and well known tragedies. Some of the lines and plot elements are familiar but overall I did not feel enthralled or grabbed by the lapels like I did with the earlier showing of King Henry VI Part 1 in The Hollow Crown series. Maybe I was expecting too much, after all this was the main course and I had my fill with an excellent starter.