Review by Dan Skip Allen
Films about Shakespeare's plays have been around for generations. Everybody from Lawrence Olivier to Mel Gibson has done them in the past. Isabella is a character in the Shakespeare play Measure for Measure. This film might be the strangest use of or adaption of a Shakespeare play in a movie in recent memory.
Muriel (Maria Villar) is trying out for the role of Isabella in the play Measure For Measure. While waiting to audition, she meets a woman named Luciana (Augustine Munez) On a walk, they get to know each other and Luciana helps Muriel to remember her lines. The entire time Muriel doesn't know that Luciana is auditioning for the same role.
Years later, while doing a different production of her own Muriel encounters Luciana once again and they get to talking about their experiences. They both bring up the whole situation involving auditioning for the role of Isabella and how Miguel (Pablo Sigal), the director of the new play The 12 Stones was involved in the casting of the process of Measure For Measure. It's a small world in these acting circles in Brazil.
The director of Isabella is Matías Piñeiro. He used this time-lapse technique to tell the story of these two women and their auditions for this play. By having one of the characters pregnant and the other with longer hair and different clothes, the viewer can tell these are the same characters in different periods. Otherwise, this film would be quite confusing, and even this technique only goes so far.
The film has things to say about doing the things you want to do or should do and not regretting them. Not looking back on past mistakes and such. These two women have this in common. How they deal with things is very interesting, to say the least. That said, the result was not very clear in the film.
The director used color motives as well to describe various moments of emotions in the film. The colors are meant to represent the various moods the characters are in during the various stages of the film. All of the various techniques are a lot to take in for a viewer of this film.
Isabella was quite confusing and all over the place as far as a narrative film. It was hard to determine the timeline these characters were in. It took me a while to figure this aspect of the film out. The style of the film was okay, not great. The message was lost in all the artsy stuff Piniero was trying to accomplish. The subtitles were moving so fast it was hard to keep up with the dialogue at times. This film was a mess from the beginning. These actors deserved better!
Isabella is now in theaters.