If you haven't inferred my main issue with the film yet, it's that I had no effing clue what was going on. And it wasn't a language issue, either. I actually understood pretty much everything. But for some reason, I couldn't follow the movie at all. I got the idea that Richard wanted to be king and had to get rid of his brothers and whoever else would ascend the throne before him... but that's it. I grasped the basic idea, but absolutely nothing else that was happening. I even tried to read the plot summary of the play on wikipedia, hoping that would give me an easier understanding in the most basic way possible. But no. For some reason, I found that just as confusing and hard to follow. Part of it had to do with the fact I couldn't figure out the characters, what their relation to each other was, what their individual motivations were, and what they were doing during any scene. And due to all of this, I had difficulty grasping the point of updating the setting to 1930s England (I eventually understood the Nazi symbolism, but that's about it). And the more I didn't get about everything, the more frustrated I became. And the more frustrated I became, the more I just didn't care.
The acting is solid, however. Also, the overall filmmaking is rather solid. My favorite aspect--something Rachel might have thought when suggesting this--was the breaking the fourth wall aspect. Richard talks directly to the camera throughout the movie, recalling the method of asides in plays when the characters remove themselves from the setting and speak directly to the audience. And since that goes into meta territory, I'm inclined to like it automatically. But on the whole, the acting, style, and meta qualities were really the only things I liked about it.
In the end, I just kept asking myself "What's the point?" That's the real question I wanted answered. I didn't follow the story because I couldn't grasp the point of whatever scene I was watching at any given moment. I didn't know how each individual scene played into the overarching narrative, what its point was in the grande scheme (except for the initial killing scenes, of course... later killings went back to the "I don't follow" category). And because of this, I feel having studied or known the story prior to seeing this film would have made it a much better viewing. By and large, I'm not blaming the film for my dislike, but rather my lack of prior knowledge (though to be fair, shouldn't a film be able to stand alone without needing said prior knowledge?). Or maybe I'm just a dumbass.
The Zed Word
(P.S. This is NOT a rating on the quality of the film; rather, it's just a rating on the level of enjoyment.)