Burton's biopic of the man often described as the world's worst film-maker (Glen or Glenda, Plan Nine from Outer Space, etc) may offer a somewhat favourably distorted account of the man and his films - it ends before his slide into porn, penury and alcoholism and, while recreating certain scenes from Wood's work with astonishing accuracy, manages to avoid showing his most tiresomely nonsensical sequences - but it certainly succeeds as a funny, touching tribute to tenacity, energy, ambition and friendship. Affection shines through warm and bright, aided no end by
's evocative b/w camerawork, and by a host of spot-on lookalike performances. Landau, especially, is superb, bringing fire, acid, pathos, wit and real dignity to the role of the pitiful, occasionally deranged former horror hero Bela Lugosi; and, in the film's most conspicuous, outrageous but surprisingly appropriate bit of fictionalisation,
makes a notably beleaguered Welles. Depp himself, all innocence, bright-eyed zeal and itchy obsession, never really lets us get beneath Wood's skin, but gives such a good-natured performance that it's hard not to end up rooting for someone who was talentless, naive and misguided in virtually everything he did.