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Director Al Pacino juxtaposes scenes from Richard III, scenes of rehearsals for Richard III, and sessions where parties involved discuss the play, the times that shaped the play, and the events that happened at the time the play is set. Interviews with mostly British actors are also included, attempting to explain why American actors have more problems performing Shakespearean plays than they do. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
I'll admit to some possible bias here: I like Shakespeare, I used to study acting, and I like Pacino. And I thought it was wonderful how the three were mixed together to form this great documentary.
It's not a film good just for entertainment; it's good if you feel like watching something educational, and enlightening. What I loved about the movie was how it showed the process of acting, particularly Shakespeare. You go from actors sitting around a table reading from a script, to actors sitting around a table improvising to get a feel for their character, to the finished product. And the acting is fantastic.
I enjoyed how this movie showed how good professional actors are. Because of his looks, Kevin Conway is just a character actor in Hollywood; the parts he gets are generally going to be all along the same lines. But here he gets to show just how talented, skilled, and trained actor he is. For me, Shakespeare is a litmus test. I've rarely been impressed by Alec Baldwin as an actor (Glengarry Glen Ross excepted) but here he shows that he truly is a professional actor, not just a "movie star." Unfortunately, Wynona Ryder did not past the test. I thought she was the weakest part of the movie; she did not sound at all natural. While everyone else spoke their lines as Shakespeare is supposed to sound like, Ryder sounded like she was "speaking Shakespeare." I had similar problems with Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet, especially compared to the smooth and natural performances of Pete Postlethwaite and Harold Perrineau.
The movie is not for everyone. But if you enjoy acting, if you enjoy Shakespeare, and/or you simply enjoy Pacino, this is a must-see.
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