Looking for Richard Review
A freezing winter morning it was, the breeze beating against my chest makes me wonder… Wait, how did I get here? I thought I was reading Pacino’s Looking for Richard Review? That’s exactly what you’re doing, and this pleasant surprise is about all the insight I can give you about the fantasy sto… I mean ‘docudrama type thing’. Yes ‘Docudrama type thing’ as described personally by the narrator Al Pacino.
The opening scene with the cold winter background, leave less grounds and the grey skies that was alluded to above, is a direct connection to the opening soliloquy exerted by Richard in Shakespeare’s Richard III, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York… “. In the same scene Pacino also juxtaposes modern buildings with classic castles, and Shakespearean literature (The Tempest), with the wintery background, successfully achieving to render a connection between Shakespeare and Looking for Richard. Witt? Yes, Pacino? Yes, Fail? Maybe so, Success? I don’t know.
The same confusion is attained by the seemingly unorthodox construction of the scenes. The postmodern structure, in exclusion of the chronological storyline, is brilliant in its construction, linking scenes from the Richard III film by association to video footage outside the story. Intertextualising makes the story of Richard III much more accessible to its audiences who are now in cinema’s and not in theatres. This juxtaposition is brilliantly achieved in one scene, where Al Pacino’s flat cap is transformed to a crown as the scene translates from Al Pacino in America to Richard in England making a direct correlation with Richard III play.
Intertextualising, is also used as to propagate a message, such as at the occurrence of King Edwards death, where scenes of Edwards death dramatised by orchestral music, the weeping of Elizabeth and her deeply dispirited face, is juxtaposed with a group of people chatting over tea. This blot of humor is a means of revealing a message to the audience. In this case that is: ‘no one really cares about Edwards death’, this story is about RICHARD! In contrast within the Globe theatre in Shakespeare England, this lamenting is expressed in lexicon.
This is the case, due to the fact that rear occupants of the Globe Theatre, wouldn’t be able to hear nor make much meaning of vocal outburst (crying), but if expressed in words, they can. Although somewhat confusing, the engaging effect that the swift transfer from practice, to costume, to street, to passionate discussions between actors and experts, where by the way, we are invited, just ask the camera angles… is a complement to Pacino’s directorial abilities, this of coarse being his first go.
Pacino’s main concern in this docudrama really is the correct representation of Shakespearean drama that would satisfy the ‘re-incarnated’ Shakespeare god. This aspect of the docudrama is embedded right at the beginning, as Pacino opens the curtains to the stage, only to be faced by an audience of one (Shakespeare), but the voice of this one man outweighs the voice of any audience of men. Pacino seems to be stating that it’s more about loyalty to Shakespeare more than entertainment for the audience, although both play a significant role. You think that you are communicating but the other person hasn’t understood a word you said” “You think that you are communicating but the other person hasn’t understood a word you said” On the other hand, there is also the underlining purposes of making Shakespeare accessible to the masses and prove that Americans can in fact preform Shakespeare. With wit, Pacino fuses these two purposes on the streets of New York. The audience swung from a statement of a man who claims to have been reading Shakespeare for 6 months yet having attained nothing!
Arrives at a woman who questions Pacino saying, ‘Are you going to make a film about Shakespeare in that American accent? ’ In this clever way, Pacino wittingly captures and frames, and gift-wraps the underlining agenda’s of the documentary, and then hands it to you. But blinking could mean the difference of receiving the gift or not. But then again, the rewind button can repeat the process these days…. what a shame. In Shakespeare England of coarse this wasn’t a possibility. Shakespeare engulfed in his ‘world of words’, asserted the literal device of dramatic irony enabled by the use of soliloquies to instill certain meanings.
With modern technological capabilities Pacino is not enforced into a corner of limited opportunities. This is witnessed by audiences in the portrayal of ‘the wooing of Anne’. Pacino, unwilling to dull the modern audience with constant soliloquies has himself out of character acting as a psychopath, informing the audience of his actual motifs of attaining Anne, while at the same time wooing her. Barbara Everette very fittingly to this scene defined irony as ‘hypocrisy with style’. In this scene also, close ups are extensively applied to reveal intimacy which is complemented by the whispering the takes place.
Demonstrating the differences in English today and that of the 16th century, an actor comments,’ Today ‘people say, “Hey you, go over there, get that thing, and bring it back to me”, but Shakespeare would say, “Be mercury, set feathers to thy heels, and fly like thought from them to me again. ” But Pacino by visiting The Globe Theatre, and interviewing specialist in English literature expresses his desire to pinpoint the meaning and understand the play in order to apply it wholesomely, to the satisfaction of Shakespeare and the comprehension of modern audiences, which he values more than the literature. It has always been a dream of mine to communicate how I feel about Shakespeare to others. ” ‘It has always been a dream of mine to communicate how I feel about Shakespeare to others. ” Burdened with the agenda’s that he carries, Pacino is obliged to make constant connections with the context and play of Richard III. Not only is this achieved in the opening scene, but throughout the play as Pacino and co, are progressing down the alley’s of New York in the dictatorial fashion perse, Elizabethan harmonies are softly echoed through the scenery.
As some will acknowledge, Richards deformity in Richard III, contextually inferred a meaning on inner evil and defilement, allowing the audience to attain the image that Shakespeare paints about the character. In the modern era, this idea seems absurd, and the change in context means that Richard has overwhelmed in black clothing, in order to infer the message that his deformity would have had 5 centuries ago. To reflect, the perspective of Richard III, within the play, Pacino has constructed the film to be in the perspective of Richard.
Not only that but Pacino has managed to maintain the sense of admiration and awe the audience attains as Richards schemes succeed within the play. A particular scene conveys this message in great depth. As Richard in his deformed nature walks to the two princes and co. who are on horses, he casts a sympathetic feeling upon the audience. Yet although he is the lower one within the scene contrastingly, he is the one who is manipulating the situation, he’s the one has dominion and power.
This dominion of Richard, is reflected also as Richard refers to Clarence as ‘simple and plain’, while in the play he is the complicated, and diverse traitor. Although a short period of time seems, the time associated with making this film, from the Pacino’s constantly changing appearance (short hair combined with a beard in one scene, no facial hair with long, flowing locks in the next), it is worthy to note that, this film took years to piece together.
For those, who haven’t read Richard the Third, and are looking to read it, I would advise a thorough analysis of this docudrama be done, as that would foster the knowledge of the context, and text, story line and motifs, of Richard III. Many aspects of Richard III such as’ Richards character and the allure of evil, have been maintained, though it is vital to note that the Christian motivated themes, such as; the value of earthly wealth and the battle within (conscience) have been annihilated in this play.
This, I assume, is a result of context of the modern era, and Pacino’s personal persuasions. Among the actors who take part of the play are Alec Baldwin as Clarence, Kevin Spacey as Buckingham, Aidan Quinn as Richmond and Winona Ryder as Lady Anne. Expert Shakespearean actors also are sprinkled all over Looking for Richard, to, with great enthusiasm discuss the proceedings of each scene, and to cast judgment upon the best means of loyal representation. Kenneth Branagh, Vanessa Redgrave, John Gielgud, Kevin Kline, and James Earl Jones fill these shoes.
Pacino, when developing this film, made it for ‘the dummies and extremists’, for the ignorant and for Shakespeare’s modern day students. From talking heads (experts in English history and literature), to homeless fella’s, from peasants to kings, you’re all invited, come and enjoy, Shakespeare is for all. Really is the statement Pacino puts forth in this film, emulating history in relation to the inclusive dimensions of Shakespeare’s plays, within The Globe Theatre.