Me and Orson Welles Review: Welles Good
In a poll last year, it was discovered that more people falsely claim to have seen Citizen Kane, than any other film.
Those fakers who are quick to reference one of the most iconic works of the last century might actually find the will to get their hands on it after watching this superb tribute to the director.
Me and Orson Welles tells the story of his efforts to complete an early Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, capturing all the best aspects of the man himself, and a few of the worst.
The story is told through Richard Samuels (Zac Efron), a disenchanted schoolboy who wings his way to a role in the latest Welles project and is immediately enraptured with the new universe he has been ushered into.
However, the famous director’s desire to create his vision while indulging his own enigma delays production somewhat. With the play set to open in less than a week, things don’t look good, and cast and critics are all predicting doom.
These doubts are of little concern to Welles however – “They scoffed when I removed ‘to be, or not to be’ from Hamlet…” – and he doubles his efforts to achieve a masterpiece.
Christian McKay is a fabulous in the lead role and he skillfully conveys the charm, wit and menace which went towards defining the star of a generation.
Still relatively unknown, such is the mesmerizing hold this actor exerts upon the audience that it almost feels as if he was born to play this part.
Indeed he comes as close to delivering a real vision as possible without actually transporting us back to the Mercury Theatre in 1930s New York, and we are forced to feel the unbreakable sway that Welles held over those around him.
The film as a whole is also a triumph, and the atmosphere of a by-gone era is nicely bottled by Richard Linklater. The cast also turns in some excellent support work, notably Clare Danes as a love interest for the over-shadowed yet acceptable, Zac Efron, playing a 17-year-old new boy who acts as a story-vehicle.
This is a piece of genuine quality which serves as an absorbing tribute to the sheer power of charisma and to a man whose talent summed up a generation.