Saturday, September 6, 2008

TIFF 08: Me and Orson Welles

Me and Orson Welles tells the story of a young teenager who wants to go into the theater and finally gets his chance with Orson Welles's production of Julius Ceaser but the film is about so much more than that. It is a portrait of a man who is witty and brilliant but sometimes cruel also (he cheats on his pregnant wife). It is sometimes nostalgic (references to The New Yorker, Richard Rogers and much more) and is in many ways the best film I have ever seen about the theater. Me and Orson Welles was a movie that surpassed every expectation I had. It is a film that can be furiously funny, unbelievably acted and as unbelievable an experience as actually seeing the production of Julius Ceaser would be. The film despite being set in the 1930's feels fresh and new. The cast of the film is wonderful. Zac Efron gives the type of performance that shows that yes he can act and not have his role be all about singing (although he does sing twice in the movie). Claire Danes does a great performance that feels right out of the style of the 1930's ingenue. But the best actor in the film is the one you haven't heard of. Christian McKay gives a performance that is so great, it is on par I would guess with even Welles's best work. The direction of the film by Richard Linklator is his best work on film yet. It was simply a great film. During the Q and A, the last question asked was simply "How Will You Top That?". How indeed.

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