Welcome thespians! Check out The Works Review by Andrew Venning below!
What a great short this is.
We open with a woman walking through a park strikingly reciting Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow” speech and as we approach the streets and find ourselves on a council estate. Next we find a young dangerous youth that is Edmund from King Lear who recites “thou nature” to us and the story kick off proper.
This film brilliantly follows the various stories of the different people living on this estate and we witness their stories through as they intermingle with each other through a variety of carefully selected and perfectly chosen speeches and scenes. Selections from Shakespeare’s plays are intermingled and play out to become one full and complete story. A group of boys fight after throwing the opening lines of Romeo and Juliet at each other and one of the young girls, watching near by, steps in to stop them with Portia’s “the quality of mercy is not strained” speech. Not once do the texts feel out-of-place when being mixed with the others and it goes to show you how truly powerful and interchangeable Shakespeare’s dialogues are. It works in any situation and rings true not matter what the context.
“What a great short this is.”
Elliot Barnes-Worrell’s debut film is clearly influenced from Tarantino, as characters over lap and pass each other, the camera picks off characters at different points in the wider narrative and lets us into each of their lives. The great thing here is that because Shakespeare’s words are so powerful at showing a depth of insight, despite the fact we only get a few minutes of Iago or Henry we still feel like we get to know each of these people very deeply. We are also witness to the tensions of gang warfare and it’s deep and insecure undertones when a young man recites the ‘ceremony’ speech from Henry V.
It’s fab to see Ralph Fiennes join the cast reciting the “All the world’s a stage” as a cockney bloke who has just finished reading the morning paper and is struck by a sudden thought about the ages of life and mortality. His partner then picks up on his thoughts and they beautifully share the ending of this speech.
Tarantino’s influence shows again when it cuts to “Edgar’s day” and we see everything from young Edgar’s point of view, but sped up, which eventually leads us back to his home (with Ralph Fiennes his Father) as he reveals the knife wound he has received.
This is a really superb short film and deserves to be watched by all. It’s a really great piece of filming and a superb way to tell us this story using Shakespeare’s words. It felt like what I wish Eastenders would be.
The Works can be found on BBC iplayer