Caesar Must Die
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Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Caesar Must Die deftly melds narrative and documentary in a transcendently powerful drama-within-a-drama. The film was made in Rome's Rebibbia Prison, where the inmates are preparing to stage Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. After a competitive casting process, the roles are eventually allocated, and the prisoners begin exploring the text, finding in its tale of fraternity, power and betrayal parallels to their own lives and stories. Hardened criminals, many with links to organised crime, these actors find great… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It is almost an impertinence to think that we understand the thoughts of these actors and those in the audience who are relatives and friends. But this is the intriguing privilege that the Taviani brothers have given us."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"There's an intensity and emotional accuracy to the performances that's just stunning, particularly Striano's Brutus, as he longs for death and release."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"A double hybrid that occupies a space somewhere between documentary and fiction right along the border of cinema and theater."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"As they find issues and themes they can relate to, the action is never remotely static despite the frequent nature of the close-ups and the plastic sword."
‑ Graham Young, Birmingham Post
"The juxtaposition of Shakespearean text and prison cell life is a particularly poignant one."
‑ Tara Brady, Irish Times
"A film somewhere between documentary and neo-realist drama."
‑ Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"It's an arresting, playful and moving film ..."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"A clever if sometimes mystifying, combination of documentary, invention and post-modernism."
‑ Jay Stone,
"The problem with the film, which somewhat inexplicably won the Golden Bear at Berlin last year, is that it scarcely transcends the basic novelty of its premise."
‑ A.A. Dowd, Time Out Chicago
"It is difficult to understand exactly where documentary ends and fiction begins, but the finale, again in colour, of the triumphant first night of the production can't fail to move."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"There's barely a wasted moment in the film, which runs a brisk 76 minutes and contains no female roles."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"Prison theatricals are nothing new in the movies, but Caesar Must Die, a quasi-documentary featuring hardened convicts acting out Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, is in a class by itself."
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"Destined to lose years in prison, the actors seem to take pride -- and solace -- in their association with something as seemingly immortal as Shakespeare's words."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"Profoundly moving."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"It's never anything less than interesting, though I felt it didn't quite fulfil its potential, and the repetition of material at the beginning and end is disconcerting."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
More reviews for Caesar Must Die on Rotten Tomatoes