T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
(director: Sophie Fiennes; screenwriter: T.S. Eliot; cinematographer: Mike Eley; editor: Sophie Fiennes; music: Danny Elfman; cast: Ralph Fiennes; Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Sophie Fiennes/Ralph Fiennes/Martin Rosenbaum/Shani Hinton/Peregrine Kitchener-Fellowes; Kino Lorber; 2022-UK)
“A smashing good one-man performance.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Sophie Fiennes (“Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami”/”Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow”) films her actor brother Ralph performing T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which was published in the early 1940s. Fiennes gives us a smashing good one-man performance in 2021 on the bare London stage, where he is barefoot and casually dressed in a rumpled sports jacket as he articulates Eliot’s take on living through the WWII experience with the intensity and spirituality it deserves for his masterpiece poems in the Four Quartets.
The poems on Eliot’s meditations on life, love, aging and faith, include Burnt Norton, East Corkor, The Dry Salvages, and the Little Gidding.
His recitation is so wonderfully good you can easily imagine the person on stage is Eliot, with Fiennes’s own personality coming through as he channels the great poet. It’s a masterful work only a top-rate Olivier-like actor can pull off.
REVIEWED ON 4/28/2023 GRADE: A+