13th Feb2019

‘All Is True’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Lolita Chakrabarti, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Doug Colling, Eleanor de Rohan, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Phil Dunster, Kathryn Wilder | Written by Ben Elton | Directed by Kenneth Branagh


Kenneth Branagh reigns supreme as the Shakespeare indulgent provocateur, directing and starring in his latest feature All is True. A witty and wonderful poignant love letter to his beloved icon revealing the hidden identity of the troubled and conflicted man underneath the glory and fame, educating the audience on the life of a disturbed artist similar to that of Julian Schnabel’s Vincent Van Gogh biopic At Eternity’s Gate.

All is True follows the latter winding down retiree stages in the enigmatic and vibrant life of William Shakespeare, wonderfully embodied by the fabulous lead performance from Kenneth Branagh. A visual and physical realisation that sizzles away underneath the flesh in a stoic intensity only to explode in a fiery vibrancy of emotion. The sizeable make-up is perhaps at first a slight infliction of indulgence but Branagh melts away into the pot and brought to the fruition is a dynamic endearing role of sheer commitment.

Kathryn Wilder re-teams with Branagh after collaborating on 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet. Wilder stars as daughter Judith Shakespeare in a fabulously curated role with a deep dark underbelly of pain and misery in a performance that is perhaps the highlight of a film that evokes a precariously beautiful and engrossing appeal. The sheer layers and aggrieved depth with intense atmosphere and animosity Wilder brings to this gruelling performance is outstanding to see develop in an unyielding visualisation and manifestation of the perils of trauma.

Going hand in hand with the screenplay by Ben Elton the performances are excelled to a point of sheer acute distinction. Judi Dench as Anne Hathaway and Ian McKellen as Henry Wriothesley, respectively, add a wonderful mighty injxction of grace and rhythm. The latter more so a cameo than a prominent role but a performance in a key sequence of unbelievable heart and refined sensitive nature.

The cinematography from Zac Nicholson is an attribute that is utterly outstanding throughout. The framing and composition from the opening sequence until the very last frame is delightful. The lighting for one looks extraordinary with subtle shadows that embellish the animosity and hatred in the film with a delightfully deviant approach.

All is True is in UK cinemas now.


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