Very true, Toddy. Thanks to Mr. French, we were able to see this rather ambitious little film, ME & ORSON WELLES, well before others have had a chance to. My concern is that, having had the privilege, we do not either hype nor condemn the picture overmuch. It is well worth seeing, however we view it.
I agree fully that young teen heart throb Zac Efron (whom we might have dismissed somewhat upon first reading of the project) does a most creditable job, and holds his own with Christian McKay, a more obvious candidate for future regard as a serious actor. To me, despite a wonderful mis-en-scene and production design, the conflict between bored, feckless youth (Arthur Anderson) and driven, concentrated genius (Orson Welles) puts strains upon how we apprehend both performances, and indeed, the viability of the picture. The script, the director, and the editing seem uncertain on how to emphasize and balance these conflicts. It is as if the two themes, two stories really, are in parallel but never quite coalesce. And because they don't coalesce, any significance of Anderson's lucky break in becoming part of the Mercury Theater is lost, and the monumental importance of Welles' "modern dress" Julius Caesar, in a pre-World War II context of Fascism, may fail to register with today's audiences. The picture's climax may look like a bunch of guys dressed in black jump suits declaiming jumbled, broken up speeches by that guy Shakespeare on a strangely lit stage.
But that will be for audiences to decide next month.
[Last night, I witnessed an extraordinary performance by "my protegee" Nellie McKay, a young musical artist of considerable genius, at San Francisco's Yoshi's Jazz Club, and so I am meditating, as you may be, Toddy, as we know Welles did-- as I understand Nellie does -- on how quickly the artistic opportunity of youth passes.]
Meanwhile, let's celebrate the future of young Eron and Christian McKay as we might have done for Orson Welles in his time.
May you be correct, Toddy, that ME & ORSON WELLES is hailed, as Mr. French believes, "one of the Ten Best Pictures of 2009" and a candidate for multiple Oscars.
Let everyone who reads Wellesnet go and see for themselves.