Looking for Richard (1996)
- Information at Internet Movie Database
- "Tricky Dick: Behind Shakespeare's Richard III," Sarah Clarke, TheFilmForum: Christian Conversation about the Movies.
Looking for Richard, reviewed by the Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson (1996, USA, 112 minutes, rated PG-13) Starring: Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino (Richard III), Aidan Quinn, Winona Ryder, and Kevin Spacey?with appearances from Sir John Gielgud, Kenneth Branagh, Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones and Kevin Kline. Produced by Michael Hadge and Al Pacino. Directed by Al Pacino.
This movie?based on Wm. Shakespeare?s, The Tragedy Of King Richard The Third?is an American endeavour ?to make Shakespeare more accessible for the masses,? in particular, the North American audience. It takes us behind the scenes with the actors, director and producers. They travel to various locations to rehearse and shoot the movie. They interview English Shakespeare scholars to delve more deeply into the play?s plot. They engage in several heated debates and dialogues concerning how to perform and interpret the play?hence, providing the audience with a running commentary of each scene.
All-in-all, even though we lose the continuity of Shakespeare?s original because of behind-the-scenes details; Looking for Richard does succeed in helping the audience to understand the play?s plot. Indeed, Shakespeare was?and perhaps still is?one of England?s best theologians vis-à-vis the theatre. Al Pacino has done a fine job in portraying Richard III as: ?evil incarnate,? a villain of villains. For those of you who have forgotten, the story occurs shortly after the Wars of the Roses, which divided the house of Lancaster and the house of York. The house of York prevailed. England was in dire need of healing and reconciliation after the ravages of civil war. However, it was destined for further political instability and intrigue. Looking for Richard provides us with an inside view of the deceitful darkness of Richard?s soul?as he stops at absolutely nothing in his mad pursuit of England?s throne. As the story unravels, Richard successfully employs every cunning, underhanded scheme at his disposal in order to accomplish his evil end. Old Queen Margaret, widow of Henry VI, pronounces a prophetic curse, which becomes tragically self-fulfilling?as we witness the death of King Edward IV and the subsequent murders of Edward?s immediate and legitimate successors?all coldly calculated by Richard. He ascends the throne by lying to, betraying and murdering everyone in his way. However, in the end, Richard meets his ?just desserts? at the hands of Henry, Earl of Richmond?afterwards Henry VII.
Theological themes: The abuse of power, betrayal, thou shall not kill, thou shall not bear false witness against one?s neighbour, violence and bloodshed breed more violence and bloodshed, evil, sin.