Looking for Richard
This is rare, but I'm going to extend my sympathies to Al Pacino.Imagine you're obsessed with Shakespeare's "Richard III" and have been working feverishly to do a film adaptation. Then, without warning, another filmmaker comes out with a version of "Richard III" starring Ian McKellen and you're completely upstaged. Well, I say, let's find Ian McKellen and kick his ass. What I don't say is, let's try the film-within-a-film shtick and come out with the movie anyway.
It's no small coincidence that pompous Pacino is so alluringly alliterative. Maybe in the course of researching Richard III he discovered what a tenuous relationship the American public has with the bard, but I doubt it. More likely, he discovered that Americans would rather eat dirt than watch Shakespeare, and thought he'd teach them a lesson by boring them to death. When he holds up the Cliff Notes to the play for a brief moment, he's hardly being coy -- he's all but holding up a sign that says, "You are all idiots." Well Al, when those box-office figures come in, we'll see who the idiot is.
Despite his pedagogical mission, Pacino's film is nothing more than self-indulgent bullshit. Sure, there's a real play going on somewhere, with people like Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey and Winona Ryder in various roles, but Pacino wants us to buy into his extraneous "look at me, I'm Al Pacino the normal guy walking around New York" storyline.
Well, it's all crap, especially the spontaneous "Bard in the street" philosophizing about Shakespeare. It's not like Pacino had a hidden camera in a suitcase or something. He's walking around New York with a camera crane rolling along behind him. Who's going to try to steal Pacino's wallet faced with the threat of being rolled over by this big crane? Nobody is going to tell him he's full of shit either. Too bad, it would have saved him (and us) a lot of time.
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