Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes are together again. In their first collaboration since the spectacularly successful American Beauty, Director Whelehan chronicles the pair as they tour the world with their stage production of Richard III and the Bridge Project.
Watching filmed plays on cinema screens is a relatively new phenomenon. Allowing those of us living outside of London or unable to afford the ticket prices an opportunity to see some of the best stage talent in the world. Opinion is still somewhat divided, The Guardian’s Mike McCahill called it ‘perverse’ (be told peasants, back to your telly boxes to watch the soaps, how dare you).
What Whelehan had presented us with is an incredibly frustrating, undeveloped and self-congratulatory documentary. Too glossy, it lacks the real depth of touring a production of this nature. You want to be able to feel the actors sweating under the lights, smell the grease paint and feel the audience give themselves over to the material. Everyone is having a great time, everyone loves everybody else. No problems, no adversity, no conflict – no fun! It’s like the Stepford Wives formed a theatre company.
Instead, a series of talking heads, travelogues and platitudes. True moments are fleeting but when you see them, you realise these are true performers who love their craft and live for the moments they enter the stage. Sadly, there are too few.
Nothing that involves Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey should come across this tedious. Spacey is one of the best actors around today. When the subject matter is so compelling the disappointment is bitter. This was perhaps best left to a making of rather than a feature length release.
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes
Running Time: 93 minutes
Director: Jeremy Whelehan
Release Date: 21st July 2014