Time Out says
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.
Cast and crew
Juliet Landau, George 'The Animal' Steele, Martin Landau, GD Spradlin, Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Marie, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones, Patricia Arquette, Brent Hinkley, Vincent D'Onofrio, Max Casella, Mike Starr