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Strong performances, lyrical location shooting, and high production values add impact and verisimilitude to this entertaining adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy. Laurence Fishburne gives a moving performance as the Moorish general whose tender passion for his wife is twisted into obsessive jealousy by the treachery of a trusted junior officer.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A highly engaging attempt at Shakespeare's most domestic tragedy."
‑ Anna Smith, Time Out
"Parker has shown how involving and moving Shakespeare can still be on the screen."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Branagh, as Iago, is so obviously the best thing in this largely uninteresting interpretation that you feel sorry for him when he inevitably bites the big one."
‑ , Film4
"Fishburne gives an amazingly chilling turn; when his Othello receives the Bad News about his lady love, Fishburne positively radiates homicide."
‑ Widgett Walls, Needcoffee.com
"Every character is balanced by another similar or contrasting one, yet Parker does little to help the viewer make these associations."
‑ Susan Tavernetti, Palo Alto Weekly
"Mr. Branagh's superb performance...guarantees this film an immediacy that any audience will understand."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"... Will not give its viewers much of an idea of the Shakespeare play, and may inadvertently give them other ideas, about interracial love, that were not much on Shakespeare's mind."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A decent but not great version that makes Shakespeare's reliable play accessible, but the acting is uneven: Branagh is witty as Iago, Fishburne looks but doesn't sound right, and Jacob is pale as Desdemona."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Fine Shakespeare adaptation"
‑ Fred Topel, About.com
"Recommended only to those who haven't yet seen enough Shakespeare on film."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Davies has done an admirable job of condensing the sprawling action."
‑ , Hollywood Reporter
"Laurence Fishburne is an actor of no little talent, but he lacks Othello's martial bearing and heroic stature."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"An entertaining, respectful adaptation that plays like an erotic thriller with Elizabethan language."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Fine Shakespeare adaptation"
‑ Fred Topel, About.com
"A pop-tart telling of Shakespeare's vengeful drama, done with remarkable flair."
‑ Gabriel Shanks, Mixed Reviews
More reviews for Othello on Rotten Tomatoes