Before Joss Whedon’s The Avengers had even wrapped production, he was filming this black and white home movie with his friends.
Starring Amy Acker in the leading role of Beatrice, and Alexis Denisof as Benedick, the film is simply a breezy charm-ridden jaunt into the fickle world of love and gossip.
Amy Acker carries this film effortlessly, displaying huge heaps of grace, wit, charm, and humour, from physical slapstick to wordy pay-offs. We need more Acker. TV is not enough, we need her on the big screen like this, she’s captivating and surrounded by a who’s who of the whedonverse, from Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, to Fran Kranz, Tom Lenk, and they’re all having a blast.
This film should be essential viewing for aspiring directors. Utilising limited locales with low budget, it never feels cheap, except for a brief moment in the ‘police station’, but the dodgy aesthetic of the room further serves the humour in the scene where Fillion’s character Dogberry acts like an ‘ass’, and is not afraid to remind people of it to hilarious effect later on.
Whedon seemingly uses every area of his swanky Santa Monica home, from cramped bedrooms to the spacious garden, his choice of camera and positioning bleed romantic overtures over you, culminating in a final image that is pitch-perfect for the genre and tale.
The Bard’s rom-com is one for the ages, though Whedon has smoothly transported it through time into his own home, given it a dapper party with an excellent minimal soundtrack, and seen it off with much love and respect.
Even for a layman like me, this take on Shakespeare is accessible, fun, and left me with a stupid grin on my face afterwards.