Looking for Richard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Looking for Richard Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 20, 2011
It is hard to imagine a world in which William Shakespeare has not, in one way or another, impacted our world. From how we view entertainment to the plans of our Government, they have all been influenced by the plays, sonnets, and poems of this one man. But with entertainment has Shakespeare impacted the most. To date, he is the only playwright whose works have been preformed the most, interpreted the most, and above all else, cherished the most. However, there is only one group of people that can say that they have been impacted the most by his works and that is actors. Now, why actors? That is because the only true, real way to understand Shakespeare is to act out one of his plays and live the life his creations have lived. Now, in the ninty nineties, actor Al Pacino (The Godfather Trilogy, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Carlito's Way) decided to go and direct a handful of films to show the world in a way an actor sees. One of these films is this documentary that chronicles Pacino's involvement in a production of Richard III (said to be the most confusing, yet most preformed play written by Shakespeare). While showing his involvement, he says at the beginning that he is also wanting to show the world the Shakespeare he loves and his views. With numerous interviews with random people on the streets of New York and fellow actors, we can see that Shakespeare has sense become something of an idea that people only know the basics of but no one really knows who or what he is. Now, I first heard of this documentary completely by accident when I was looking up films to do with Al Pacino. When I sat down and watched this documentary, what it done was reopen my eyes to the power of Shakespeare and the legacy that he created for us all. But what really captivated me was how difficult it is for professional actors to preform Shakespeare. I know of people that think that, for actors, it is easy due to them being trained. Well, this film shows that, along with how confused the actors get over the story of Richard III. But what really makes this entire documentary stand out is how Al Pacino filmed rehearsals, made his own mini-film of Richard III (as in, found locations, got the costumes, and filmed a traditional film), and shows to such lengths to understand the mind of Shakespeare and his life. While all of that is going on, Pacino does try to make a point: Americans can have an understanding and an appreciation for Shakespeare. Early in this documentary, there is an interview with a person who, in a rather obscene way, say that the only people who even take Shakespeare seriously are the Japanese. And he is right. Over the past few decades, as English speaking nations (mostly America) start to bastardize their own language, other cultures have adapted into our past of playwrights and learn their own magic from these printed words. Plus, as said by one British Professor in the film, when America does a Shakespeare play, they just end up mimicking the British in such a way that it brings pure disgrace. Al Pacino had set out a complete quest to prove that America can still learn from and love Shakespeare, and if you are asking if he is able to accomplish that, you must see this documentary. It will open your eyes and give you a complete appreciation for the works of the man who is considered to be the greatest English playwright in history.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2007
A documentary about the making of a movie... but not really, since they weren't MAKING the movie, they were making the documentary. More an exploration of the play, maybe. I don't know, but I found it fascinating all the same.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2006
Self-indulgent crap. A decent cast is all its got working for it.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2006
A study of acting from the master, Al Pacino. Although it's not totally concise, this is a very entertaining examination of the measures taken by actors to develop a character, and of Shakespeare's role in modern society. Highly recommended for Pacino fans and aspiring actors.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2008
Fantastic, original and insightful.
May 21, 2014
I have seen Richard III and read it and now after seeing this, I really wish they would do this for all of Shakespeare's plays/movies. I wish there was a companion to this that showed the complete performance nevertheless, this is one thought provoking and intriguing documentary. Al Pacino directs and stars in this doc and he has never been more likable. Some of my favorite scenes are his interactions with the everyday people as he asks them about the Bard. Al loves Shakes and he loves to talk about it. This is better than any uncomfortable interview he has ever given. The cast is superb but Al and William are the stars.
January 27, 2014
Excellent documentary that discusses Shakespeare and one of his most famous plays, "Richard III." Through discussion and staging scenes from the play, Pacino and crew give us a layman's view on the Bard and his masterworks!
November 11, 2013
Al Pacino's wet dream unto himself. The only reason to see this is for the opportunity to roar out loud at the casts attempts at speaking with...the only term I can come up with is... "Shakespearean accents," the worst of which undeniably comes from Al himself.
July 24, 2012
This movie breaks down Richard III into a more understandable piece of literature and also shows insight into the public view of Shakespeare from people all over. I really enjoyed Al Pacino's quest to bring Shakespeare to the masses in such a way that they may enjoy and appreciate it. My favorite part was the guy that talked about how Shakespeare teaches us to feel and so more of us need to be educated in his words, it actually made a lot of sense. This was a great idea done by one of the finest actors in cinema history.
July 26, 2011
A docu-drama that successfully breaks down a Shakespearean classic in to something easily understood. Beautiful.
November 18, 2010
some interesting moments, but the purpose of the film/documentary is unclear. doesn't seem to be educational or a production of richard iii...really not sure what this was at all, but not horribly boring.
½ November 1, 2010
This is an interesting documentary made by Al Pacino about him adapting a version of Richard III. We see behind the scenes rehersals with the performed versions and interviews with anyone from scholars to people on the street about who Shakespeare was.
November 6, 2009
Al Pacino's documentary insight into making Shakespeare accessible to a modern audience is fascinating, but is unfortunately overshadowed by his attempts to simplify and summarize the plot of the play.
½ October 15, 2009
pretty decent documentary. for as much as they talked about "bringing Shakespeare to the common people", aside from a few incidental interviews on the street, there weren't really any common people to be seen. it's just Pacino and Company engaged in heated and occasionally humourous debate about how to best stage and perform Richard III. that being said, though, the character and scene analyses were quite excellent and the performances are overall very enjoyable. great interpretation of Shakespeare, but still maybe a bit high-brow.
½ May 18, 2009
I enjoyed it. I'm not sure how well this achieves the goal of selling Shakespeare to a mass audience--several people who watched this with me were not happy.
½ January 11, 2009
I went to the premiere where Al Pacino changed clothes in the taxi on the way there. His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, and it was great to see cameos from my two friends Gordon MacDonald and Michael Maloney.
October 31, 2008
It's a documentary that includes a movie so you don't have to watch 3 different films... Absolutely FANTASTIC, a great way to a) explain Shakespeareb) examine behind the scenes c) tell an otherwise difficult story (being Shakespeare)
½ April 1, 2008
Let me start out by saying that I don't like documentaries. Usually I avoid them like the plague, because frankly, I find them boring. But when I saw this film was a documentary involving Al Pacino and Shakespeare, I decided to give it a try. I still expected to be bored apart from oggling Pacino the whole film and drooling over tidbits of him reading the Bard, but I was pleasantly surprised... No, that's not the right word, pleasantly BLOWN AWAY by the amazing-ness of this film. Pacino's passion for his work is evident in every single scene, whether he's just asking random ppl on the street what they think of Shakespeare to actually acting out scenes. It was really interesting to watch him and his friends and colleagues just sit down and discuss, sometimes even argue about their interpretations of Richard III. And it was really eye-opening to hear the opinions of Shakespearean scholars / veteran actors talk about how Americans downplay / negate their ability to do Shakespeare just because they don't have English accents. I admit, I thought Shakespeare wouldn't be quite the same without an authentic accent, just because that's the way you always hear it done, so it was really enlightening to have some of those expectations dispelled by this film. The actual scenes that were acted out from Richard III were just spell-binding, too, particularly the Lady Anne scene w/ Winona Ryder. I mean, Richard III convinces Lady Anne to marry him right after she's expressed her undying hatred for him for having caused the deaths of her husband and father, and you BELIEVE IT. Amazing stuff! =D
February 8, 2008
Love the editing in this one, the way they intentionally cut back and forth betweent the actors in real life rehearsing their lines to them performing the actual play, so it kind of blends together with the actors and their characters. Extremely interesting.
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