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Looking for Richard
Al Pacino will always be remembered for his tough guy roles in the
Scarface. However, he has another side.
He is a funny man with a deep passion for the classical works of William
Shakespeare. In Looking for Richard,
Pacino shares his love for the Bard while also educating us about one of
his greatest plays,
The movie is Pacino's effort to explain his feelings for Shakespeare and how people in the modern age can enjoy his work. Pacino splices together interviews with experts, comments from people on the street, rehearsals, debates among the cast, his own practice sessions and the finished scenes to create an enjoyable and insightful investigation of the play and attitudes toward Shakespeare.
With the film, Pacino tries to dispel the myth that Shakespeare is too advanced for average people to understand. View the movie as a Cliff Notes version of the play. Shakespeare's work is often hard to understand because the writing style is much different from what we are accustomed to today. Pacino cuts through the ponderous style to explain the key scenes in layman's terms, but only early on.
As the film progresses, Pacino steps back to let the audience use the knowledge they gained early in the movie to understand and interpret the closing scenes. As they watch the movie, the audience develops this capability. I was surprised at how much more understandable the play was once I had early scenes described by Pacino and crew.
The best scenes in Looking for Richard show us the planning of the movie as Pacino and crew scout locations, visit key historical sites and speak with fellow actors about the play. The actors and producers analyze the meaning of the story and key scenes to enhance their own performances, while making things clearer for the audience. Also, actors explain the motivations and histories of their characters to provide the audience with the background needed to understand the story.
Another enjoyable aspect of the movie is seeing the funny, softer side of Pacino. He is one of America's greatest actors, yet, we know little about him and his personality. The audience is given a behind- the-scenes peak to see Pacino debating with the producers, mingling with friends, interacting with fans and speaking about one of his favorite writers. In many ways, the movie could also be called Looking for Al.
The audience gets a fine performance of Richard III. Pacino is spell-binding in the final scenes as Richard must confront the punishment for evil actions he has committed. Winona Ryder as Anne and Alec Baldwin as Clarence also give great performances. These well known actors rarely have the opportunity to engage in widely seen theatrical work. Baldwin has participated in Broadway productions, but few had the opportunity to see them unless you were in New York.
Many of us probably remember the boring documentaries we had to watch in school, but this one is a pleasant and informative evening of entertainment led by "Professor" Pacino.
Looking For Richard: A
Directed by Al Pacino
Al Pacino . Richard
Kevin Spacey .. Buckingham
Alec Baldwin .. Clarence
Winona Ryder . Anne
Aidan Quinn Richmond
Penelope Allen Elizabeth
Estelle Parsons Margaret
Frederick Kimble Bishop of Elye
Sir John Gielgud
James Earl Jones
F. Murray Abraham
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