Wilde Salomé ***Dir: Al Pacino. With: Al Pacino, Jessica Chastain, Kevin Anderson. 95 mins. Cert: 15.
The documentary accompanying Salomé sets about its task with a recognisably protean energy we might call Pacinoid. Historical biography is peppered with snapshots of the inherent craziness of simultaneously staging a play, filming the play, and then making a making-of of the filming; dramatisations of Wilde’s final days of freedom, featuring Jack Huston as Bosie and Pacino in a dead-badger wig as Oscar, jostle with literary powwows (Stoppard on Bosie: “He was a shit”) and – Bono warning – the thoughts of Bono. Too much chaos ultimately prevails, but the rehearsal sequences at least forsake vapid luvvieisms for close, instructive study of how to pull the best out of actors and text alike. As in 1996’s Looking for Richard, Pacino makes a funny, inquisitive, self-mocking guide, whether dragging camels through the desert or pointing finger guns at Scarface-quoting students: we may now be able to forgive him those godawful broadband adverts.
Wilde Salomé screens with Salomé, and a Pacino-Stephen Fry Q&A, in selected cinemas this Sunday.