Looking For Richard review

Now is the winter of our big-screen Bard adaptations. Epic productions of Hamlet and Romeo And Juliet are around the corner, but Pacino has opted for a semi-documentary approach to literature's nasty hunchback.

Purists will sneer at his brash populism, which cross-cuts between scholars and street people like an MTV informercial. Happily, though, the middle bit is a neatly condensed version of the play's central action, and the final showdown even gets quite exciting.

Pacino's self-conscious behind-the-scenes footage has unpleasant echoes of In Bed With Madonna, but there's no doubting his passion for the subject, or his desire to communicate its 400-year-old greatness to a Pepsi-chugging audience. Impressively, the viewer is left with a solid understanding of one of Shakespeare's most complex plays - - without having to sit through a tedious, bum-numbingly straight performance.

Pacino should be applauded. Not quite a triumph, my liege, but a qualified success.

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