Thursday, May 5, 2011

Me and Orson Welles

Who had the larger ego, Orson Welles or Julius Caesar? I have heard about the legendary Orson Welles ego and the film 'Me and Orson Welles' does a good job at showing how overbearing and self important he could be. Set mostly in the Mercury Theatre while trying to bring his version of Julius Caesar to life, Orson Welles made sure everyone knows just who the lord and master is. He is the director, writer, star, set designer, composer, etc... God forbid if you actually were the one doing the work and asks for credit, no one dares try and take any credit when Orson Welles is involved.

Welles indeed comes across as somewhat of a brilliant man in this movie, but also a raging asshole. If he truly acted like that in reality, then it gives some amount of pleasure that he faded away into obese obscurity after Citizen Kane and the Third Man. It also shows, mainly through the character of Sonja Jones played by Claire Danes, just how far people will debase themselves to be close to what they consider genius.

Zac Efron tries to hold his own against a magnificent Christian McKay as Welles, but really comes across as an idealistic adolescent. He chooses love (lust) over career just as any inexperienced 17 year old would do, but perhaps it would have been a wiser move to cast an unknown as Richard instead of a well known teen idol. This is a very convincing film about the hardships of theatre life and the overwhelming Orson Welles, but everything else, including Zac Efron, falls a little flat.

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