Looking For Richard (1996)

Al Pacino's labor-of-love documentary about William Shakespeare's 
"Richard III" is delightful for, oh, about an hour.  Maybe less.  
Pacino, desperate to communicate his love for the Bard, takes his 
camera anywhere and everywhere, from the halls of academia right 
down to the man on the street.  (In one memorable clip, a homeless 
man expresses regret for the loss of feelings behind contemporary 
language.)  Pacino stages readings and rehearsals and, even, the 
occasional educational aside.  (He provides an answer to "what is 
iambic pentameter?")  For a while, the whole thing is fascinating, 
funny, and even frank, as when the many interviewed actors admit 
the brutal truths about speaking, hearing, and understanding Bill 
S.  Unfortunately, when Al gets down to the business of actually 
*staging* some scenes, LOOKING FOR RICHARD begins to look lost.  
Almost all of the serious stuff is filmed in that same loose and 
leisurely style, which is great for capturing comments, but not so 
hot when trying to do drama.  Of the costumed performers, only two 
of the actors-- Estelle Parsons and Penelope Allen-- produce any 
real fire.  The rest are a bit of a bore, including Al.  (Rated 
"PG-13"/112 min.)

Grade: C+

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: November 17, 1996

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