A cast devoutly to be wished. Al Pacino has taken over the role
of director (with Frederic Kimball at his side for some very wise
advice and even wiser friendly chastisement) in the investigation
of 'King Richard.' You know, that play by the revered Englishman
from half a millennium ago about the humpbacked nasty man? So,
thinks Al, let's make this play accessible for the general public
as well as going on a voyage of discovery ourselves. And that is
what makes the film so very enjoyable and fascinating.
public is given an insight into what Shakespeare is about, what
acting is about, what politics is about, what greed is about,
what human nature is about, and, at the same time, have some
philosophy, adventure, and history thrown in. All this makes for
a good day's work (or perhaps a little longer). Some people
might have well worried about the 10 roles of film that were
still available when they wrapped, unbeknownst to Pacino. After
all, if the work has been in progress for 400 years, why stop
A wonderful montage takes us back and forth between
discussions, rehearsal sessions, costumed acting on location,
analyses by both actors and scholars, heated debates between
friends, contemporary reflections by those involved in the
development and remarks from the 'man on the street.' Billy
would've loved it.
Included among the cavalcade of stars are
Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Allen, Gordon MacDonald,
Estelle Parsons, Kevin Conway, Winona Ryder, Aidan Quinn, F.
Murray Abraham, Joyce Ebert, Paul Gleason, Viveca Lindfors,
Heathcote Williams and Pacino himself (as Richard), of course.
Try to get that cast on stage. Among the others seen and heard
are Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, Rosemary
Harris, Peter Brook, Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud and Vanessa
Redgrave. Try to get that cast on stage too.
This should be mandatory viewing in high schools. A hell of a
lot better than force-feeding 'Julius Caesar' as they do for 8th
graders in New York schools (at least as far as I recall). A lot
of people might stop saying, 'I can't understand what they're
talking about,' or, 'it's boring.' I don't know about you, but I
think it's breathtaking.
© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett