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madbeast15 March 2015
Michael Almereyda once again stuffs a Shakespearean play into modern day society and comes up with an incomprehensible mess. His film of "Hamlet" at least used as its framework an enduring masterpiece with themes as relevant to today's world as when it was written. But "Cymbeline" is an obscure, rarely produced oddity from Shakespeare's canon which employs unlikely plotting centered on obsolete sexual morality which has no relevance to today's world. Why Almereyda thought this archaic chestnut needed to be set in the present day is baffling.

It is up to the actors to inject some life into this dull mess and for the most part, they are not up to the task. Dakota Johnson is stunning to look at as the ill-used Imogen, but gives a one-note performance that is insufferable to watch. Ethan Hawke brings to the evil Iachimo the same dull monotone that he employed as Almereyda's Hamlet. And Penn Badgley makes the gullible Posthumus seem like a refugee from a boy band. Only Delroy Lindo and Ed Harris project the charisma necessary to make their characters interesting, although demoting Harris' Cymbeline from the King of Britain in the original text to the head of a motorcycle gang is unimaginably reductive.

Almereyda seems to have a fetish for updating Shakespearean drama into the modern world and has no issue with pummeling it into a different shape to fit his concept no matter what the Bard's original intention was while writing it. The approach worked intermittently with "Hamlet" but fails completely with "Cymbeline." Almereyda would be well advised to seek out contemporary stories to make films of and leave Shakespeare alone.
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Never have I seen dialogue ruin a film so much
rprince-832-629414 March 2015
-Cymbeline (2015) movie review: -Cymbeline is a film adaptation of the work by Shakespeare of the same name. I have never read the original, and because I did not have a clue what was going on in the film, I cannot summarize the plot as usual.

-I have seen other films that updated the source materials but kept the dialogue the same, and I have not liked any of them. So to emphasize my point, I am going to attempt to write the rest of this review in that of ye olde Shakespeare.

-The story is left inarticulate upon the dialect of old, and events happen yonder with a purpose none.

-The pace is of an unhurried mountain.

-Not Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, John Leguizamo, Anton Yelchin, Mila Jovovick, Dakota Johnson, and Penn Badgley of noble thespians could relinquish a burden laid heavy by discourse of old.

-Misperception flourished whence happenings of thine own charismas was.

-Piercing sounds penetrated mine own ears throughout by the score of said performance.

-Dost thou look nobly at the value and quake, yet none can undertake accomplishment in this piece, for the apprise of situation without the apprise of discourse bestows incomprehension throughout the all-inclusive picture. As nothing cannot tie in to nothing, Cymbeline cannot share the benefit of being so worth the time of it as slight.

-As I bid it goodbye a final time, my final talk of all can be said is of the rating, being R for a violent passage in thus.

-Hast seen Cymbeline of you? See what I mean about the dialogue? Yeah it made the entire film suck.
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Vapid pretentious tripe
agitpapa-562-144113 March 2015
Playing Shakespeare with various NY accents is like playing Moliere with "Allo Allo" accents. It's just crap. The original Shakespeare, performed at the Globe in London, is a lot like Irish English. It is nothing like the squawky dialects of the colonies. Words like "Thou took'st a beggar; wouldst have made my throne a seat for baseness" sound credible in either the original Early Modern English or in standard Oxford English but in Bronxese, Jerseyese, or Manhattenese they sound simply like ludicrous crap.

If that weren't enough the whole production with its pretentious, foreboding, ponderous atmosphere utterly lacks continuity and energy. It's just a sequence of meaningless lines uttered in incongruous settings by talented people whose desperate attempts to breathe life into this corpse of a movie are more cringeworthy than praiseworthy. Talent ceases to be talent when expended so pointlessly.
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I made it half way
aprilmay-758795 July 2016
before I finally shut it off. There art nay words to pray pardon me how awful this movie is.

For the most part I thought it was a joke, or that something was going to happen and it would turn into a real movie eventually. I came here before renting and the summary seemed pretty decent, and the cast looks amazing! The IMDb summary is completely misleading having never heard of this movie before (and now I know why I hadn't). I'm a little upset I paid 4 bucks to rent this. That's 4 dollars and 45 minutes I can't get back. And I'm more upset about the 45 minutes. The summary NEEDS to say something about it being an attempt to modernize a Shakespeare...something - or whatever it was attempting to do. I seriously have never seen anything so horrible in my life - I find it near incomprehensible why anyone would even mildly consider producing something like this. I feel like I should cry a little bit over all the time and money wasted on this mess.
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Kings and Queens of Anarchy
kosmasp5 April 2016
At least that's what the German distributor would like you to believe that is. What it is though, is a Shakespeare piece thrown into the modern world, but with the same dialogue you'll find in his books. So some words may seem inappropriate considering the time it plays, but that's up to the viewer to decide if he or she will fall for that.

The actors are decent actually and they know their Shakespeare. But that might not help the viewer actually enjoying this. It does seem amateurish at times too. And again not the actors fault. Having said that, I'm not sure "real" dialogue would have changed my perspective on the movie overall. The drama is there (it was in the book), but the delivery script and shooting wise lacks a lot ...
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The Strangest Movie I Have Never Seen …
SteveJ_88814 November 2015
This movie is a big disappointment, not because it didn't meet my expectations, but because I couldn't even watch it.

Ed Harris is one of my favorite actors, and the description of the movie on the DVD box sounded pretty good. It didn't say though that "a modern retelling of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy" meant that the dialog would be Shakespeare's original Early Modern English used in a modern setting.

Of course not. Otherwise, who in their right mind would want to watch it? What were the people who made this movie thinking? I still respect the actors who appeared in this feature. I'll call it temporary insanity.

When I first heard the Early Modern English, I thought "this has got to be for effect at the start of the movie – surely it will switch over to regular dialog any moment." When it didn't, I jumped to the next chapter, and the next chapter, and the next chapter …

You have got to be kidding me! It seems many viewers feel the same based on the low user rating.

I'm so grateful that I didn't go to see this movie in a theater. If I had, I might have been compelled to stick it out. Come to think of it, it would have been the ultimate experience for a first date. You would probably get married and have something to laugh about for the rest of your lives together! I'm not going to rate or comment further on a movie I didn't watch. By the way, I almost never bail on a movie – about one in every 500 or so.

I could not endure to watch it. Maybe thou can.
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Entertaining but slow Shakespearean self-parody
m_imdb-905-69121315 March 2015
The play Cymbeline, with its stereotypical and at times silly plot devices, has often been considered to be a self-parody, a work Shakespeare devised as a comedy of 'in-jokes' and 'over the top' pretenses. The events are absurd, conveniently co-incidental and even impossible, at points. It is farce, like a Shakespearean "Naked Gun". It is not meant to be taken seriously, at least by those who know it isn't.

This has not been lost on the director of Cymbeline, the movie -- but it does seem to be lost on the majority of the audience that sees it. But, fear not, for now you have been enlightened and you can abandon any attempt to follow the plot and instead find amusement in Ethan Hawke's slimy scheming, Ed Harris' constipated look as he does his best to recite his lines, Anton Yelchin proving he can be as creepy as he can be adorable, John Leguizamo being John Leguizamo and so forth.

Now, it is possible to follow the dialog (and hence the plot) if you concentrate but it's probably advised to read the Wikipedia page on Cymbeline (the play) before you watch the movie. Then you won't get lost. Don't worry, it won't spoil anything (much). After all, this is a parody of Shakespeare written by Shakespeare -- there are no surprises. Everything is laid out in advance, or told to us in monologues before it happens. It's a play by the numbers.

Okay, so the plot is stupid and silly. But, is the film otherwise worth watching? Yes, for what it is. It's not pretentious, as other reviewers have suggested. Cymbeline does not take itself seriously. Firstly, it's set around Hallowe'en. The characters dress like stereotypes. The choice of decor and cars are somewhat unique. The actors overact, sometimes to the point of being hammy (I'm looking at you, Ethan Hawke!) If you take it as a parody it's amusing enough to be worth a hundred minutes of your time.

There's also something to be said for seeing bikers reciting Shakespeare.
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Not a clever adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline
estebangonzalez1015 April 2015
"On her left breast, a mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops I' the bottom of a cowslip."

It's been over 14 years since Director Michael Almereyda and Ethan Hawke collaborated together in the modern day adaptation of William Shakespeare's classical play, Hamlet. The film was warmly received by critics despite not being the first time that a Shakespeare play was adapted to modern times without changing the original dialogue (Baz Luhrmann did the same with Romeo + Juliet in 1996). Once again Almereyda decides to leave the dialogue untouched and change the setting to modern times for the adaptation of Cymbeline. The King (Ed Harris) of a biker gangster group known as Britain is upset that his daughter, Imogen (Dakota Johnson) has fallen in love with his protégé, Posthumous (Penn Badgley), who she secretly married. The two have sworn eternal love to each other, but the King's second wife, the Queen (Milla Jovovich), has other plans for Imogen. She wants her to marry his son, Cloten (Anton Yeltsin) so they banish Posthumous from their group. Meanwhile the bikers have decided to stop paying tribute to the Roman Police Department and a war is about to breakout between the two groups. Posthumous has fled to his friend's house where he ends up meeting Iachimo (Ethan Hawke) and tells him all about his lover's chastity. Iachimo makes a bet with him claiming that he can seduce her and prove that she's not as pure as he believes her to be. He meets Imogen and is unsuccessful in his approach, but Iachimo fools Posthumous into thinking he did sleep with his lover and that is where the plot begins to take several unexpected twists.

If the short synopsis of this film felt a bit convoluted, it's because the film actually has a lot going on in the opening minutes where it's trying to introduce the main characters in a very rushed way. The dialogue doesn't help either if you're not familiar with Shakespeare's play because the delivery is extremely fast and new characters keep on coming from all over the place. It's strange that I'm complaining about how fast everything comes at you, because the pacing does get quite tedious and I was thankful the film only runs a bit past the 95 minute mark. But that doesn't mean that the adaptation isn't a mess because it's all over the place. One of the reasons why this adaptation didn't work for me is that the tragicomedy plays out as pure tragedy here and the comedy element is missing from the film. There was no time to get to know any of the characters or their true intentions and it seemed the entire purpose of this film was being able to adapt the play in a modern setting without touching the dialogue. Something that Whedon accomplished much better in Much Ado About Nothing because he focused on the comedy more than on the action. It's funny that I say this because I wasn't even a fan of Whedon's adaptation although I recognized its artistic value, but here there's nothing that worked for me.

Shakespeare's plays might be timeless, but that doesn't mean that all of them can be adapted to film. Cymbeline seems to be one of those plays that don't translate well to the big screen due to the convoluted plot. The performances in this film aren't bad, and I like most of the actors here, but the problem for me was that the adaptation didn't work at all. Not even John Leguizamo can redeem the film despite how well he's played Shakespearean characters in the past (Romeo + Juliet). Ed Harris and Ethan Hawke are both extremely talented actors, but there was nothing they could do to engage me with the film. I love Shakespeare's plays and despite never having read this one, I still could see some of his trademarks in the characters and writing, but unfortunately I didn't care for them in this adaptation.
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Total rubbish with a confusing Plot! 1/10
leonblackwood3 October 2015
Review: What the hell is going on in this film?  I'm not one for Shakespeare, so the script really got on my nerves, right from the very beginning. The only bit that I understood is that it's about a girl and a boy who are in love, against her dads wishes but thats about it. I also got the bit about the bet with Ethan Hawke who said that he could bed the boys wife but that didn't make that must sense to me either. Basically, I thought that it was a terrible adaptation of Shakespeares writing and I can understand why it got bad reviews. There are some major stars in the movie, like Ed Harris, Delroy Lindo, Ethan Hawke, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo and Anton Yelchin so I was expecting a half decent film but I really didn't enjoy it. They should have changed the script to fit the writing but the director chose to stick with Shakespeares words, which just made it hard to understand. I know that there are people out there that will think that it's a very straight forward movie but I personally couldn't get into it. The random events that happen throughout the film just made it worse but on the plus side, the performances weren't to bad. Awful!

Round-Up: Because this movie had the tagline of Anarchy: Ride or Die, I was expecting something like the other Anarchy movies but it has nothing to do with them. Once they started to speak in that thy and thee language, I knew that the film was going to be rubbish but I chose to give it a chance because the Romeo and Juliet movie with Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't bad. Once the movie gets going, I lost all interest in trying to understand the plot so I think you can tell that this movie gets the thumbs down from me.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their Shakespearean action/drama movies about a married couple who is split up by her father, for some unknown reason. 1/10
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Well-acted but unsatisfying Shakespeare modernization
lor_9 March 2015
Going to the theater to watch CYMBELINE reminded me of times spent being selected to serve on a jury: I had to throw out all my preconceptions and concentrate on the case as presented. Thanks to generally earnest and well-measured performances by the cast, the piece is gripping but by its conclusion is unconvincing and somewhat an empty exercise.

There's no denying director Michael Almereyda's creativity in slashing the play's contents to manageable length while retaining the beauty and power of the Bard's language. But this is familiar territory for film buffs, poaching on maverick NYC director Abel Ferrara's vision of a nihilistic parallel world New York, which he explored most successfully in influential films KING OF NEW YORK, MS. 45 and BAD LIEUTENANT. Almereyda's style is quite different, adopting an ultra-serious mood of foreboding, while Abel's explosive approach was far less wimpy, often pushing or breaking through the limits of X-rated (now NC-17) filmmaking.

Leavening this heavy, self-important mood is almost non-stop relief (almost comic) provided by anachronisms, with a NY setting imposed awkwardly on the war between ancient Romans and occupied Britons. (Abel would have cast Brits w/their distinctive accents vs. Italian/Americans with Bronx or Broroklyn twangs, but Almereyda employs a disparate ethnic mix on both sides of the equation which I found completely arbitrary apart from its "urban ethnic" slant.) This brand of humor was pioneered by the late British powerhouse Ken Russell in the '60s and '70s with works ranging from THE DEVILS to LISZTOMANIA, and is channeled by Almereyda by way of Russell's only current imitator in cinema, Baz Luhrmann (of ROMEO + JULIET fame or infamy).

Strong portrayals of the key adversaries by Ed Harris (Briton Cymbeline, as a meth drug/gang leader king) and Vondie Curtis-Hall (as the local Roman officer by way of upstate NY) are further enhanced by an even greater gravitas displayed by Delroy Lindo as the tough but kindly protector of the king's two missing sons, who he has raised and sheltered to adulthood.

Rest of the cast is variable, starting with chief protagonist Posthumus played as a handsome but rather wan figure by Penn Badgley. Overshadowing him in a memorable turn is current It girl (of 50 SHADES OF GREY) Dakota Johnson as Cymbeline's daughter Imogen, the princess, in love with Posthumus. She is very empathetic throughout the film and morphs handily into a Shailene Woodleigh lookalike in later reels when hiding out with hair cut off as boy in the usual Shakespearean cross-dressing mode.

Top-billed Ethan Hawke (who previously was a NYC HAMLET for the director) is riveting and thoroughly immersed in the text as the villain of the piece, who sets much of the melodrama in motion via his creepy wager with Posthumus that he can deflower Imogen easily. The film is at its audience-involving best during Hawke's dominant segment, and becomes rather wearisome in later reels as his importance is sidelined.

Similarly John Leguizamo commands the screen and steals most of his scenes as an ambiguous go-between character who transitions much of the action. Other standouts in small roles include a surprisingly serious Bill Pullman and sudden songstress (singing Bob Dylan no less) Milla Jovovich, cast against type as the evil step-mother queen. One of the weakest elements is Anton Yelchin as her crazy son, a role I didn't get into at all though he is a key element of the play.

So after an hour or so enjoying the intriguing upstate NYC locations and practical interior sets plus oddball elements (apt use of All Hallow's Ever/Halloween imagery throughout but silly American culture references like President Obama on TV), the final reel was quite poor, perhaps due as much to Shakespeare's intricate plotting devices as to the director's adaptation. Like plays or great novels of the period (see Fielding's TOM JONES) the disparate loose ends of the play come way too neatly together for the climax and resolution.

I guess the pernicious trend in cinema in the past couple of decades of the so-called Chaos Theory screenplays justifies this sort of dramatic nonsense (CRASH and BABEL come to mind) but the quickie payoffs of a convoluted storyline are unsatisfying to a contemporary (and thinking) audience, and easy outs that give one a "much ado about nothing" final response.
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The tragedy of watching Cymbeline
Gordon-113 April 2015
This film is a modern plus classical hybrid of the Shakespearean play, Cymbeline.

After watching just a few minutes, I already wished I didn't choose this film. It's an interesting idea to put new modern scenes onto Shakespearean dialogue, but it doesn't work at all. Shakespeare fans will be appalled by the millions of anachronisms in the film, while everyone else will be put off by the archaic dialogue. A similar endeavour, "Titus" starring Anthony Hopkins already demonstrated that this hybrid doesn't work, so it's quite unfortunate that the filmmakers attempt it again. I really wonder why so many famous actors agreed to star in it. One more thing, I like Dakota Johnson in "Fifty Shades of Grey", but in this film her forehead is so overly botoxed that she could not even muster a single wrinkle even when faced with much distress. Even Milla Jovovich managed some!

I watched " Cymbeline" until the end, and trust me it did not get any better. If you don't like the first scene, then switch it off right away.
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a dog of a film
jim-watson-267-52526718 March 2015
to keep it simple.....a pile of pretentious crap,trying to be deep and meaningful....misses the mark by a mile.I need ten lines to review this dog of a film what can I say????????The first line says it can you say more? It wants to be something it ain't.. Why not waste a few hours of your life...... What was Edd Harris thinking of when he took this pile of *()$££*** It is hard to fill 2 lines about this pic let alone 10. I'm at a loss to understand why you need 10 lines of text to review a dog of a film. Do me a favour and let me know if you have watched it and disagree(or agree) on my opinion.
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Pretentious, Incredibly Boring Drivel.
cableaddict9 May 2018
The opening sequence was hypnotic, but why are we forced to read line after line after line of some bizarre story about a king and a motorcycle gang, and....

I already didn't care and was bored out of my mind.

Then the first main scene started, and we get to see 2 people kissing. for bout 5 minutes. ..... And nothing else........

Wow. Gripping.

The Ed Harris enters the scene and starts reciting Shakespeare, in a monotone voice that could only have come from massive amounts of drugs.

Then his wife (the Queen? Whahhhh ???) joins the gang on screen, and sounds even more lifeless and bored than Ed Harris did.

Computer-generated voices, reading the phone book, are far more interesting than whatever this is.

If I watch the rest of this flick, I will surely have to kill myself, so I'm stopping now. Fifteen minutes in and it's already the worst movie I've seen in years.

You've been warned.
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Shakespeare fans will not have this problem but as for me I was just too confused & uninterested to really get into it
cosmo_tiger7 April 2015
"I live in fear, though this Heavenly angel, Hell is here." Cymbeline (Harris) is the leader of a biker gang and the ruler of his family. His daughter Imogen (Johnson) is sought after and is loved by her family. When rivals attempt to seduce and steal Imogen away from her family and the one she loves things take a tragic turn. This leads Cymbeline on a quest for revenge. Going in I didn't realize this was a Shakespeare play. When I found that out I was nervous. I am not a big fan at all. I did like the Romeo & Juliet with DiCaprio and Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes but other than that I have not really enjoyed the recent adaptations. This falls under that category. It could be because I'm not a fan and the whole movie is done in the old English but I found it very confusing to determine what was going on. Fans of Shakespeare will most likely not have this problem but as for me I was just too confused and uninterested to really pay attention to and get involved with. Overall, Shakespeare fans will get into this, I just could not. I give it a C+.
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Not the action packed crime drama I was expecting...I got a little bit more
bbickley13-921-5866415 March 2015
I knew I was going to see it when I saw the poster in my local theater, and when I read the summary, I was hooked.

Ethan Hawk as a cop at war with a biker gang who's leader is played by Ed Harris. That sounds like a winner.

The movie had the gritty tone of an early 80s action movie thanks to the electronic music that simmers through the picture. Someone is definitely paying homage to the 80's which is in right now.

Than the Shakespearean dialog begins to break out, which started to make what I thought would be just a mediocre gritty tale with an all-star cast, far more interesting.

What I like about this adaptation of William Shakespeare is that the actors were reading the lines with their own dialect. It was not done like it was a stage play they made it like a movie.

Best example is with John Leguizamo who delivered the lines of big Willie with the attitude of the Latino raised New Yorker he is. Too bad he did not have more lines in the movie, after all this is not his first time adapting Shakespeare to the big screen.

Like the Leguizamo starring Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline is a bit sir-realistic. This was done as a way to stay true to the play it was adapted from and yet give it the modern day twist of being set in the present, with Rome being portrayed as a contemporary metropolitan and Ed Harris character status as the leader of the biker gang being treated like Royalty.

I think I would have preferred a little more looseness with the adaptation in order to make it more original, but that's a small pet peeve to an otherwise entertaining movie.
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0 stars
anthonyturno9 August 2018
I didn't understand one word of this super boring movie
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Fast Forward Quickly
pauear28 November 2015
I am giving this film 2 for the way the Company hoodwinked me into renting it as a DVD. At no point on the cover does it mention the word Shakespeare. I believed I was renting a good old biker gang vs. bent cops movie with a great cast of Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke etc. It took me a few minutes to realize with growing horror, that this was a Shakesperean play superimposed onto a modern story. Ironically enough, I went to watch a number of Shakespeare plays earlier this year, including Henry V. They were engaging, dramatic, exciting and entertaining. In fact, everything this film is not. I fast forwarded through most of this film which helped tremendously. I can understand what they were attempting to do, but the result is a mess. Ed Harris's status as one of my all time favorite actors has suffered a battering, based on the 20 minutes I did sit through. Ethan Hawke seemed to be struggling just to remember his dialog. Actually, it reminded me of the feelings that I had in school when they taught you Shakespeare. Somehow, you had a vague feeling that this is worthy, but they did'nt appear convinced themselves.
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Overall movie
christianfheins7 May 2015
The film idea itself is quite good, the idea of mixing a novel context with the modern times is quite interesting.

The cast and acting are good, the first scenes of the film kind of hook you to keep on watching, but afterwards is just hard to follow, watch and understand. The film has a great idea but fells like the film lacks of execution and direction. To start; linking the stories and characters is really hard (try to use paper an pen otherwise you are lost). But probably the worst part of the movie and the reason is so hard to follow and understand is the speeches the cast has to go trough. I get the idea of making a contemporary film based on a Shakespeare novel from the 1600, but is the year 2015, and this kind of speech is to elaborated, complex and not very well suited for today's audience (unless the film is targeted to highly literate people). A novel such as Cymbeline requires time and re-reading to understand, a film should better work on the idea of Cymbeline and focus less on follow step by step the novel speech.

Not the best movie example (nor my favorite), but Romeo and Juliet (1996) had some of this novel way of speaking, but understandable. Cymbeline (2015) is all the time that dense, complex and confusing way of narration from the 1600's.

The best part of the movie, in my opinion, were the soundtracks, but not only the ones that appear on the credits (only 5 songs), rather the song from the beginning, for example. Couldn't find the artist of those songs, but my congrats to the artist, really good music selection.
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Confusing Plot
Desertman8414 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich,John Leguizamo and Dakota Johnson star in this story based on the play by William Shakespeare of the same title that had its New York setting at present day modern times entitled Cymbeline.This Shakespearean film directed by Michael Almereyda takes us to a story of an on-going war between corrupt dirty cops and drug-dealing biker gang.Things become more violent when the drug kingpin becomes determined to take desperate measures.

Well,Shakespearean plot does exist in the movie.When King Cymbelinew,who heads the Briton motorcycle gang in a decaying town,decides to resist Roman tax,with police official Caius Lucius the chief collector.On the romantic front,Cymbeline's protégé is Posthumus,a handsome but penniless skateboarder is the secret love of Cymbeline's daughter Imogen.Unfortunately,his second wife the Queen is pursuing a match between Imogen and her son Cloten instead. Then the main villain Iachimo enters.He shows up in town and thinks that Posthumus can deflower Imogen in just one meeting.Posthumus thinks is easy money but Iachime takes of a sleeping Imogen and sends him into extreme rage.One of the gang members Pisanio,a kind thug,is tasked with the task of Imogen's murder.But the truth is that Imogen was assisted to fake her death and to escape town disguised as a man.Later,she stumbles into Belarius and his sons,who happen to be the kidnapped sons of Cymbeline.Then things get complicated as the story progresses.

As the plot is being retold,we get to see lots of confusion in the movie.Obviously,the viewers will have a hard time to keep track of the plot unless they are familiar with the Shakespearean play.Also,the modern retelling of the story seemed out of place especially in today's world considering that the screenplay made very little difference in telling the story.It is rather unfortunate that the director possesses a talent cast in this movie but these actors and actresses have a muddled screenplay to deal with and could not save it from being a bad movie.
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my notes
sstrunks-0524525 June 2019
Horrible adaptation movie. i hated it a lot (1 viewing)
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Fear No More
ferguson-68 March 2015
Greetings again from the darkness. The writings of Shakespeare are certainly timeless and it's often quite fun to watch filmmakers or stage directors bring The Bard's stories into a contemporary setting. A fine example is director Joss Whedon's modern and quite enjoyable twist on Much Ado About Nothing a couple of years ago. Director Michael Almereyda had success with his modern day Hamlet in 2000, and here he re-teams with his Danish Prince from that one (Ethan Hawke) to bring one of Shakespeare's lesser known "problem plays" to screen.

This modernization turns King Cymbeline into a Biker gang leader (Ed Harris) as he battles not the Romans, but rather a corrupt police force led by Vondre Curtis-Hall. As one would expect there is no shortage of deceit, violence and love of the "wrong" person. There are numerous sub-plots intertwined with the desire of the King and his Queen (Milla Jovovich) to marry her daughter (Dakota Johnson, 50 Shades of Gray) to his son (Anton Yelchin). Before your stomach turns, it should be pointed out that both kids are from previous marriages. It's not surprising to discover that the daughter is really in love with someone of whom the Royal parents don't approve – a brooding skateboarder (Penn Badgley).

The assembled cast is quite impressive. In addition to those previously mentioned, we also have Peter Gerety, Bill Pullman, Delroy Lindo (always great), John Leguizamo, Spencer Treat Clark (the kid from Gladiator) and Kevin Corrigan. The issue here is not the acting talent, but rather that some seem more comfortable with Shakespeare speak than others. Hawke, Yelchin and even Ms. Johnson seem to embrace the dialogue, while Leguizamo, Harris and especially Badgley are fish out of water. And for some reason, Ms. Jovovich is mostly wasted despite adding much appreciated spirit to a couple of scenes.

Describing this as Shakespeare's "lost masterpiece" is quite a stretch, but there is always some pleasure in hearing his words spoken. It's just a shame when the project lacks energy and is lethargic in pacing … two elements that prevent us from ever connecting with any character. Still, any film that features a sky blue AMC Pacer can't be all bad.
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A failed, albeit decent, attempt to be different.
Seraphion26 March 2015
Basing the story to a William Shakespeare play, the screenplay tries to incorporate a different breath of world by differently changing the time and place setting into contemporary USA. Yet this attempt, feels only half done since there are still lots of elements kept from the play that feels to much in disarray when it's brought to the contemporary time setting. For instance, changing the background from a vassal king against a general into a mere biker gang leader against a police chief is downright degrading the plot of it's glory. Yet I still appreciate this movie due to it features many big and up-and-coming names in movies. It's nice to see performances by Ethan Hawke, John Leguizamo, Ed Harris, Anton Yelchin, Dakota Johnson and many others in this movie.
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Sketching in 50 shades of Shakespeare . . .
oscaralbert19 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
. . . with the help of Mr. Grey's "Anastasia" (Dakota Johnson) is sure to attract more involuntary attendees (that is, students forced to see CYMBELINE by their teachers) than Uncoerced paying customers. The fact that this adaptation, reset to a modern environment featuring the use of ubiquitous TV screens (Barack Obama makes a cameo appearance), note pads, GPS, iPhones, and Selfies at every turn, cannot hold a candle to "Gandalf" (Ian McKellen) as RICHARD III a few years ago in a similar "updating" probably is more the fault of the Bard having provided lesser source material than it is of Ms. Johnson's lackluster "Imogen" here, or any other miscasting decision. I mean, if CYMBELINE is supposed to be a tragedy, LOTS of heads should roll, not just the jester's. The plot is rife with tons of chances for unwitting incest, or at the very least a Romeo\Juliet-style slew of ill-timed suicides, but we only get one self-snuffing, paired with the single rolling Noggin'. Worse yet, both victims deserved to die. Where's the pity in THAT?!
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What makes the language work is what handicaps the film
Nozz20 June 2015
Although most of the lines in the play are missing, I didn't have much trouble following the plot and characters. There are a lot of characters, but thankfully most of the actors' faces can't be confused with one another. I would have liked to have more dialog retained from the developing confrontation between Clotus and Guiderius, because it seems to become violent for insufficient reason. Overall, though, I think that the dialog works well because it isn't recited in a stentorian style. Everyone is rather quiet, even when making terrible threats, and I think the quietness is what saves the language from incongruity in the modern setting. On the other hand, after a while there seems to be a bit too much quiet, a lack of excitement. If the excitement won't come from the drama of Shakespeare's language, where can it come from? The movie refrains from digressing into manic action sequences, nude scenes, stunt- heavy car chases, or dance numbers, and that's fine, but it doesn't grip us with the characterizations either and so I'm afraid it remains a neatly accomplished intellectual exercise.
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A tragedy in one Sit-through (a short and sexy review)
FreedomWatchTower16 February 2019
As you are reading this review you probably already have read the sinopsis or just watched it and dont really know how to feel about this film, rest assured that im with you on this.

This film is a tragedy for me (pun intended), as for the simple reason of having an obviously Great cast and even pretty dope cinematography, some scenes even look more than good (they look great) and the idea of putting Shakespeare ibto modern times isnt anything new but can even make some sense. The problem with it all is that the dialogue seems to have been kept as they where written way back (some hundreds of years ago), and there in lies its biggest flaw. Thw aftermath of the dialogue makes it feel unnatural and forced, most of the times even awkward, because besides not fitting the scenary even the normally known great actors like Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Delroy Lindo etc, seem to struggle with it.

All in short: Great cast, mostly greatly shot scenes but laughable unfitting dialogue that destroys all of the film.

Ps there is one scene that is just laughably bad and awkward where its not because of the language but the just unfitting tone and catastrophic voice work, its a scene where the normally talented Mila Jovovich sings on a stage with a montage if violence followibg it... Had to laugh
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