Anarchy: Ride or Die, Cymbeline (2014)
Directed by: Michael Almereyda
Written by: Michael Almereyda, William Shakespeare
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Dakota Johnson, Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, John Leguizamo, Milla Jovovich, Penn Badgley
ANARCHY: RIDE OR DIE (2014)
Directed by Michael Almereyda
After marrying Briton biker gang leader Cymbeline’s penniless protege Posthumus, Cymbeline’s daughter Imogen is kept hidden away from all whilst skateboarder Posthumus is banished. In his new abode, Posthumus is challenged by Iachimo that Imogen would give up her chastity to any man that should take interest in her, especially him. Trusting of his wife, Posthumus agrees to the bet, knowing her to be loyal, pledging the ring Imogen gave him as the prize should he be proved wrong. After failing to woo Imogen, Iachimo decides to gain enough evidence that would convince Posthumus that he has indeed slept with his wife yet without actually doing the deed. Distraught at the ‘evidence’ and believing Iachimo’s lies, Posthumus vows revenge on Imogen forcing her to face the dagger or go on the run.
Writer and director Michael Almereyda has decided to do a Baz Lurhmann and take one of William Shakespeare’s plays and turn it into a modern drama except where Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet excelled, this telling of a Shakespeare work falls flat on its face. I’m not familiar with Cymbeline so it may be that the original material is lacklustre but it doesn’t convert well on screen, regardless if you have some of the world’s finest actors to star in it.
Having the biker gang the Britons against the Rome police, I expected much more screentime to depict both the truce and the fallout between the rival gangs but much of the film is taken up by the petty back and forth between slacker skateboarder Posthumus (Penn Badgely) and Imogen (Dakota Johnson) whilst Imogen’s step-brother Cloten (Anton Yelchin) yearns to take Imogen as his own bride. What confused me most about the film though was why a stranger in the form of Iachimo (Ethan Hawke) would want to go to the lengths of wanting or pretending to sleep with Posthumus’ wife in order to ‘prove’ she is unfaithful if he cares one bit about Posthumus? Though his own greed to win a diamond ring is probably the answer to that. Ed Harris and Milla Jovovich also star as gang leader Cymbeline and his second wife The Queen respectively though neither are really given much to do, especially Jovovich.
Though the film never stops and always seems to be moving at quite a pace, it’s very hard to actually get any enjoyment from ANARCHY: RIDE OR DIE. There’s not enough time spent with any of the characters to evoke any kind of response and the use of ye olde English throughout the entire film left me pretty much clueless (though thankfully I got the jist of the storyline). The entire plot seems pointless and daft and the stellar cast at their disposal seems quite wasted.
If you’ve studied Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, you may find this film an interesting adaptation but for those just looking for an entertaining movie, you’d be better looking elsewhere.