Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Me and Orson Welles 

Wednesday, Dec 9 2009
Comments
Orson Welles lives on not only in posthumously restored director's cuts of his movies but as a character in other people’s novels, plays, and films—notably Richard Linklater's deft, affectionate, and unexpectedly enjoyable Me and Orson Welles. Adapted from a novel by high school English teacher Robert Kaplow, Linklater's movie concerns Welles's legendary 1937 stage production of Julius Caesar—the 22-year-old director’s personal triumph. Linklater views Welles's achievement from the perspective of a high school student (Zac Efron). Dubbed "Junior," the lad brazens his way into a minor part as Brutus's lute-strumming page, a week before the play is set to open. "You’re not getting anything except the opportunity to be sprayed by Orson's spit," Welles's assistant (Claire Danes) good-naturedly warns him. Actually, the callow but competent Junior gets away with quite a bit (up to a point) even as he learns something about performing and human nature—or at least about the nature of Orson Welles. So do we, thanks to a rich—bordering on plummy—performance by British actor Christian McKay, who nails Welles's ironic twinkle and assured, mocking self-importance. For all of its virtues, Me and Orson Welles is not perfect. The thrifty period mise-en-scene is oversaturated with '30s popular music and the screenplay gives only a perfunctory sense of the era's Popular Front politics. But, percolating with backstage banter and behind-the-scenes maneuvering, it is a spirited, confident, and even edifying piece of work.
Starts: Dec. 11. Daily, 2009

About The Author

J. Hoberman

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"