His filmography to date shows an affinity for classics texts – whether that manifests through the Marvel superhero most closely tied to Norse mythology, Thor, or with a reboot of a Disney favourite that feels fresh precisely because it remains so uncynically traditional (the 2015 live-action remake of Cinderella).
But beyond his appropriation of these stories, Branagh is recognisable for his commitment to the characters that he plays himself with unashamed commitment – both physical and emotional.
He recently revamped the role of Hercule Poirot in his update of Murder on the Orient Express, and will be adapting another Agatha Christie story, Death on the Nile, in 2020.
The context of Branagh's prescriptive passion for his material then explains All Is True, his latest directorial and acting effort in which he plays William Shakespeare, showing the bard in the final days of his life. Branagh has worked with Shakespeare's texts a number of times, but the film shines a light on a lesser known time in the poet's life.
It's a shame then that the film offers little in the way of authentic intrigue, as the strength lies on Branagh's impassioned but indulgent performance. Satellite characters (Judi Dench as Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway, Ian McKellen as the Earl of Southampton) abide by the unconvincing rules of the director – the timeline and relationships on paper spark interest, but the execution falls flat.
There is nothing malicious about All Is True – but it's an uninspired addition to Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare canon.
|What||All is True film review|
08 Feb 19 – 08 Feb 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|