the old thesps of yore, Kevin Spacey assembled a classical theater troupe to
tour like mad, performing Shakespeare’s Richard
III in countries throughout the increasingly globalized world. There had to
be some craziness going on backstage, but you will be hard-pressed to find any
in Jeremy Wheeler’s sanitized-for-your-protection behind-the-scenes
documentary, NOW: In the Wings on a World
opens this Friday at the IFC Center following its special screening at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes announced Richard
III would be their first collaboration since American Beauty the theater world sat up and took notice. Indeed,
it is a good thing Mendes was on-board, because he provides some of the film’s
most thoughtful commentary. Yet, it would still probably be more interesting to
hear him talk about Skyfall.
all accounts, Richard III was an
artistic triumph. Many critics see a direct correlation between Spacey’s
Richard and his Francis Underwood in Netflix’s cable-killing House of Cards. Unfortunately, Spacey does
not have much to say about that. He would rather sing the praises of his cast
seems like everyone involved on the Richard
III utterly adored every last one of their colleagues, which is jolly nice
for them, but absolute dullsville to watch. Frankly, NOW has the depth and drama of a making-of DVD extra. Sure, the
staging looks spectacularly ambitious (particularly in Greece’s Epidaurus
theater, circa 400 B.C.), but the best way to appreciate it would have been by
seeing the production live. For the most part, viewers must be content to watch
as cast members discover the Great Wall of China is really long and the desert
in Qatar is rather sandy.
In a way, NOW
is the high-brow equivalent of the bloopers that ran over the closing
credits of old Burt Reynolds movies, in which everyone works very hard to show
us how much fun they were having. This is such a lightweight trifle, especially
when compared to the other robustly entertaining documentaries that played this
year’s Tribeca. Of interest only to Spacey’s hardcore stalker-fans, but certainly
not recommended for everyday civilians, the awkwardly titled NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage opens
this Friday (5/2) at the IFC Center.
Labels: Documentary, Kevin Spacey, Tribeca '14