Me And Orson Welles Richard Linklater

Me And Orson Welles Richard Linklater
Me and Orson Welles tells the story of young, starry-eyed Richard (Zac Efron) and his apprenticeship at the eponymous legend's Mercury Theater Company during their famous modern-dress production of Julius Caesar in 1937. Richard finds himself fatefully entangled with Sonja (Claire Danes), an ambitious Mercury staffer, and finally with the monstrously talented Welles. This loving, comic, affectionate chronicle of theatrical life bears the stamp of its director. While further proof of Linklater's trademark eclecticism, as nothing he has done previously quite resembles it, it displays unmistakably his characteristic empathy for his characters, particularly his young people. This generosity extends to Sonja, the film's charming femme fatale, ever ready to advance her career, and even to Welles, here remarkably at the tender age of 22. Everyone in the cast shines, though special kudos should be reserved for the actors portraying the famous faces, such as Joseph Cotton, George Coulouris, John Houseman and so on, all of whom step into their roles with the utmost naturalness, none more so than Christian McKay as Welles. As in other screen depictions of the young genius, Welles comes off pretty badly, at times, but no actor has ever tapped the tender spirit behind the egomaniacal assuredness with such casual proficiency. The biggest surprise, though, is Efron, who carries his High School Musical baggage with him, of course, but who nevertheless brings his leading man role off with brisk aplomb. More than that, he enlists our engagement with his character right up until an ending that deserves the description "bittersweet." It's criminal that this film was so little seen and appreciated. Extras consist of deleted scenes, some standard-issue background featurettes and the scenes lovingly reproducing the Mercury Caesar in their entirety without cutaways, a fond tribute by one master director to another. (E1)