Pacino's first film as writer/director is a marvellously intelligent, witty and imaginative exploration of the problems faced by anyone wishing to act in Shakespeare or translate the plays to film. The movie's part documentary, part adaptation of Richard III: Pacino scours the streets of New York for vox-pop comments on the playwright; elicits opinions from academics, critics and celebrated thesps on questions of performance, the text and the history behind it; holds readings and rehearsals; and provides dramatic renditions of key scenes. Besides offering an enthralling abridged account of the play, Pacino's film is a hugely informative and entertaining attempt to measure Shakespeare's accessibility and value to the modern world. Whether visiting Stratford, arguing with co-writer Frederic Kimball or producer Michael Hadge, allowing a derelict to wax lyrical about Shakespeare's poetry, or staging a sparsely populated but impressively cinematic version of the climactic battle on Bosworth Field, Pacino seduces us with his enthusiasm, energy and passion.
Cast and crew
James Earl Jones