It’s been a curious career for Kenneth Branagh. “One for them, one for me” may be the dictum of the auteur trying to balance commerce and art, but in Branagh’s case it’s been more like “two decades for me, one decade for them,” with a career sharply bifurcated between a longer youthful phase as a fearless actor-director adapting Shakespeare for the screen and a shorter mature period as a hired gun handling forgettable high-gloss entertainments.
In his first two decades as a director, Branagh’s only major-budget project was the overwrought Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, memorable primarily because it marked his romantic transition …
This article appears as “Portrait of an Artist” in the December 20, 2021, print edition of National Review.
Something to Consider
If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.