- Julie Taymor had previously worked on stage (notably “The Lion King”) and in television but 1999’s Titus was her debut feature film. Titus is certainly laudable for its full mise-en-scene: use of color, production design (Dante Ferretti- Salo, Casino, The Age of Innocence) and costume work (Milena Canonero- Barry Lyndon, Dick Tracy, A Clockwork Orange, most of Wes Anderson’s work).
Titus is also notable for pairing Anthony Hopkins (not quite on the run he was in the early 1990s but still doing great work) with Shakespeare— belting out the Bard “I shall grind your bones to dust!”
- It would be impossible to mention Titus without mentioning another visually bold Shakespeare adaptation: Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in 1996. Taymor’s film may not exist without Luhrmann’s film (no guns here like Baz’s film, but video games!).
Massive set pieces with colored ribbons flowing from the windows—a large ensemble- ambition spilling out all over
- Massive set pieces with colored ribbons flowing from the windows—a large ensemble- ambition spilling out all over—with that, and the sexuality (Titus is angry and violent, too), Fellini Satyricon (1969) feels like the lineage.
- It is no surprise that Hopkins is good, but I remember the casting of Jessica Lange in 1999 turning some heads and it turns out many were worried for nothing- she is at least equal to Hopkins here. She is given a fabulous scene vowing revenge in close up at the 39-minute mark. She is 50 years old here, looks absolutely amazing still.
At the 76-minute mark the four characters are staggered throughout the frame carefully at a crossroads like John Sturges’ greatest shot in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955).
- There are flaws- the dream sequences do not come off—and there some one off patchy stylistic flourishes that are not set up formally (no pattern) like the slow motion death of Alan Cumming’s Saturninus
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1999