(Originally written for Latitude Lookout)
Director: Al Pacino
21st September, 2014
Every piece of promotion, including the introduction at the beginning of the screening credited the movie as “based on the most controversial Oscar Wilde play.”
The film at the centre of Pacino’s 2011 docu-drama Wilde Salomé is now released as its own entity in the UK. As stated and executed during the documentary, Pacino’s vision was to stage a production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé using the original text as written and make a cinematic.
The experimental style Pacino chose to present the play is well executed. By melding the intimate experience of going to the theatre and bringing it to the big screen is well done. By playing with the form, Pacino leaves no audience member behind allowing literary lovers and art film fanatics alike entertained.
Jessica Chastain’s performance is captivating, how she flits from innocence to arrogance and menacing, as the titular character, expertly is to be admired as this was her first film as a professional actor.
Although a small part of the film, Pacino’s accent work is nothing to write home about. When asked in the documentary where it comes from he answers, “I don’t know.” It is jarring and took many audience members out of the engrossing rhythm of the dialogue. He is the weakest part of this production.
As for the Q+A, Stephen Fry felt like the wrong person to host this as he mostly dominated the conversation. Hi enthusiasm for the material was great, however his excitement overpowered the important aspect of Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain discusses this passion piece and thus made it not worth staying, nor the extra price on the ticket.
Overall, this movies is a dense and intense experience, the passion for the content is clear and makes a great ode to Oscar Wilde and is worth seeing for Wilde fans.