[REVIEW] Cymbeline (2015) Is An Ambush On Unsuspecting Viewers – ManlyMovie

[REVIEW] Cymbeline (2015) Is An Ambush On Unsuspecting Viewers


Runtime: 98 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: A movie like Coriolanus, where the whole thing might as well be in Greek, with college campus ‘stylization’

There are going to be some upset people when they stumble upon this movie.  It is wall to wall gibberish dressed up as a stylistic interpretation of Shakespeare.  Let me first say that I don’t give a damn about Shakespeare, or any of the nonsense that he wrote.  To me his works were, and are, highfalutin horse shit, put to paper by a man who was most likely heavily shitfaced.  This modern take on the play ‘Cymbeline’ stars Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, John Leguizamo and Milla Jovovich.

Cymbeline, just to get this out of the way, tells the story of a princess named Imogen, who gets secretly married to a man in her father’s court. Meanwhile, there is strife between her father, King Cymbeline, and Caesar Augustus.  If you’ve ever read anything by Shakespeare, the dialogue is like something that came out of a bad Google Translate job.  And this is the problem here, the main problem anyway, the entirety of this movie uses Shakespeare’s dialogue word for word.  Making 80% of the movie incomprehensible.  He said what now?  Wha?  Who?  And don’t give me this shit about dumb people not getting it.  I guarantee you 95% of all people, and 99% of the people watching this movie, won’t know what the fuck who is talking about, or why.  You can be as witty as the next person and not care about Shakespeare or his overrated sap.

It’s a gimmick and one that isn’t really outlined to potential viewers.  A gimmick and nothing more.  The hook – Ed Harris and Ethan Hawke in a thriller about corrupt cops and bikers, is there to lure unsuspecting viewers into a frustrating ambush.  But that’s not the only problem.  If you’re one of these pseudo intellectuals who thinks he’s a step above everyone else by digging Shakespeare, even you must concede that this movie is shit.  Here’s something worth mentioning.  The gratuitous slow-mo shot, the calling card of a shit film maker, is in this movie literally from the first few seconds.  Slow-mo for a man turning his head.  Slow-mo for a man walking up some steps.  The intro itself, with its pulpy European dance theme, is like something edited in Windows Movie Maker.

I might also add and reiterate, this is a romantic movie, with a Dawson’s Creek style rendezvous between two supermodels cast probably not on the grounds of their acting capability.  Even the great Ed Harris looks a bit woozy trying to recite this dialogue, probably compounded by his realization that the whole project sucks. It’s like Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, another Shakespeare riff, where everyone tried to act real arsty by quoting the archaic dialogue directly.  Actually, I watched that movie drunk and thought the whole thing was hilarious, you should try it sometime.



  1. Jack Cates

    March 15, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I think us guys who enjoy movies involving masculine conflict have a hard enough time with people stereotyping us all as anti-intellectuals who can’t understand Shakespeare without this article. Try and be less of a stereotype. Shakespeare was a talented guy and a genius. Just because I like Die Hard and The Raid, that isn’t going to make me into a buffoon who can’t respect that.

    • The Night Rider

      March 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      He was the Chris Nolan of his day. Next to the likes of Yeates, his stuff is overrated guff.

      • jim

        March 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm

        I tend to think time is the only critic and the stuff that lasts has to be reckoned with in some way. Of course language is a barrier but MacBeth is still a powerful enough blood lust drama to interest Gibson and Polanski. His comedies are of course a different matter. Comedy rarely lasts more than a couple of generations but the great bloody melodramas survive through the ages.

  2. jim

    March 15, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Far be it for me to rubbish Old Bill. I think a better way of expressing the problem might be as follows: language which creates distance dilutes the power of the story. With a few honorable exceptions, the original texts in modern dress simply don’t work. They look like gimmicks or fancy dress. For pseuds. I am all in favour of re working the dialogue to suit modern sensibilities. Joe MacBeth (1955) is MacBeth in the style of a fifties gangster movie.The contemporary dialogue echoing all the quotes you still remember from school. If filmmakers want to stick to the original texts then they should recreate the period dictated by the play.That said, I liked seeing Ian McKellan play Richard III as a 1930’s English fascist king. But I might have liked it more if they had modernized the dialogue.

    • Mucho Macho

      March 15, 2015 at 2:10 pm


    • Mucho Macho

      March 15, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      I liked “Titus” with Anthony Hopkins too

  3. 123

    March 15, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Had a feeling this movie wouldn’t be upto much will still watch it sometime though.

  4. Mucho Macho

    March 15, 2015 at 7:16 am

    My favorite Hamlet..
    This guy

  5. Mucho Macho

    March 15, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Ed Harris was Boss in “Run All Night”

  6. AlTeo

    March 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

    OT, heads up, news about Arnold Schwarzenegger, his zombie drama “Maggie” is going to be shown as part of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival lineup:

    Also he’s pretty confident “Legend of Conan” will shoot this fall:

    • 123

      March 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

      Not sure about Maggie am sure this site give it a poor script review comparing it to a episode of the walking dead which I like but Arnie in a slow burning movie with little to none zombie action doesn’t sound appealing.

    • 123

      March 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

      As for Conan fingers crossed hopefully has a good director and a decent script/ supporting cast. Get the rock to play a fellow warrior or his son now that be awesome, guaranteed box office success too we mite get a few that way.

      • AlTeo

        March 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

        Well, 6/10 is still better than a 4/10, so I’ll give the benefit of a doubt for now. Besides, having the same rating as “The Equalizer”, “The Raid 2” and “Sabotage” on this site ain’t exactly earth-shattering. Also I applaud any actor for moving out of his comfort zone; even if the movie is a total failure, he should be commended for trying something different at the very least. Results should be interesting if not misguided.

        “Legend of Conan”… I hope a director like Verhoeven or the great Mel Gibson comes along and rescues this film, they are sorely needed back into big-budget R-rated territory, if Milius isn’t fully recovered yet…maybe Ridley Scott… and yea I wouldn’t mind Dwayne Johnson in the cast, he seems to be a rescuer of franchises nowadays (financially at least). Often thought he was the unofficial successor of Arnie ever since that cameo in “The Rundown”

        • jim

          March 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm

          All depends on the director. Verhoeven would be a great choice. Can’t understand why his career stalled. That Dutch wartime thriller he did in 2006 (Black Book) is great.. Has he been out of America too long? He’s still working, just not nearly enough.