British helmer Derek Jarman’s third feature, a film version of Shakespeare’s most fanciful play, is definitely one of a kind. Its greatest strength is its ‘look’. That offsets the director-adaptor’s generally limp control of the narrative.
Although heavily cut and reorganized, the Bard’s lines are used virtually throughout. The plot remains intact. Jarman’s biggest liberty is the insertion of a wedding feast at the end, complete with dancing sailor boys, and blues singer Elisabeth Welch crooning ‘Stormy Weather’ as a kind of diva ex machina.
Most successful innovation is Toyah Willcox’s assault on the usually vacuous role of Miranda. Plump and punkish, her reaction to the first eligible male she has ever seen is more lusty than wide-eyed, and thoroughly believable.