“Lucid and searching, scorching and incantatory,” Ralph & Sophie Fiennes’ FOUR QUARTETS opens May 16 at the Monica Film Center.
“Fiennes, in his beautifully grave way, slows the poem down for us, speaking the words with rapt deliberation, so that we live in their moment. He delivers the Four Quartets as if the entire 16-poem suite were a single fractured Shakespearean monologue, lucid and searching, scorching and incantatory, all revolving around the desire to know. Fiennes sings like Gielgud, roils like Olivier, lends lines a mocking undercurrent like Ben Kingsley, and imbues it all with a world-weary grandeur that is very Ralph Fiennes. He recites Eliot’s poem as the music it is, and you feel that Eliot, through the drama of Fiennes’ presentation, comes across as nothing less than the 20th-century Shakespeare, reaching for the cosmos but driven by a deconstructive impulse, a need to take apart the forces that shape the very questions he’s asking.” ~ Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Ralph Fiennes casts a spell.” – Nick Curtis, Evening Standard
“The hypnotizing, affecting performance that Fiennes extracts from this thicket of uncertain meanings and recondite references is a beautiful testament to what Eliot himself once said: ‘Genuine poetry communicates before it’s understood.’” – Dan Einav, Financial Times
“Fiennes imbues Eliot’s last great poem with all the drama of a Shakespearean soliloquy in a magnificent, intimate theatrical experience.” – Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
“A staggering experience that is going to be best seen in a darkened room where you can get lost in the words which are amplified and expanded by Fiennes’ physical performance…this is a masterclass of acting and a magnificent film. See it.” – Steve Kopian, Unseen Film