Al Pacino is one of the most recognisable faces in film for those of us the wrong side of thirty. Whilst De Niro’s career has gone down the rabbit hole, Pacino has managed to maintain his reputation. Whilst he’s best known for his performances in Serpico, Carlito’s Way, Scarface, Dog Day Afternoon and Heat, Pacino has also produced more considered work behind the camera. His directorial output has been driven by a love of theatre, beginning with Looking for Richard.
Pacino looks at the enduring appeal of the works of William Shakespeare through his play Richard III. Along with a host of names, including Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder and Aidan Quinn, he acts out several scenes whilst also looking at it in a historical perspective. He achieves the latter through interviews with Shakespearean scholars. Pacino also goes out on the streets and discovers what people think about The Bard’s influence on the modern world.
The thing which shines through Looking for Richard is Pacino’s great energy, enthusiasm and passion for Shakespeare. Not only does he come at it through his own staging, he focusses on those who’ve previously trodden the boards. It’s a fascinating look at the continuing appeal and deconstruction of Richard III without being overly technical or scholarly. Looking for Richard is a great documentary where a director transposes his passion onto the viewer.
Looking for Richard is released on DVD by Odyssey Video on 17 October.