Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is literally a home movie – he shot it at his house with some actor-friends. But it’s no vanity project. Filmed in lustrous black and white, it is an elegant, intelligent and hugely entertaining version that stays faithful to the source despite the California setting. It’s a battle of the sexes with the dashing Benedick (Alexis Denisof) reigniting a love-hate relationship with the sharp-tongued Beatrice (Amy Acker), while his impetuous friend Claudio (Clark Gregg) woos the innocent Hero (Jillian Morgese). But, a villain plots to destroy Hero’s happiness… It’s clear from the director’s commentary that Whedon truly loves Shakespeare’s use of language and his cast spark together wonderfully, too. There is the occasional misstep, including an opening bedroom scene that seems out of place. Still, it’s a joy.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment on Monday 7th October.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.