It’s neither particularly observant nor scathing to label director Richard Linklater’s body of work as uneven, over time coming to have almost as many misses as hits. Apart from the lacklustre ‘20s gangster flick The Newton Boys, Linklater hasn’t dabbled much in period pieces (depending on where you place A Scanner Darkly on the timeline), not that this necessarily made Me and Orson Welles an exciting prospect. Nor, for me, was the casting of Zac Efron in the lead, being more familiar with his smiling mug in photos than any work on film. More
This turned out to be a pleasant surprise then, with Linklater not doing much more than fulfilling a functional role as director and letting the charismatic cast and material do the job. His filmography doesn’t smell of theatre much, yet this world and its denizens are rendered in an extremely believable way. Efron shows why he sets teen hearts aflutter and knees atremble (and gets to do a little more than he’s probably allowed in High School Musical) as theatrical newbie Richard Samuels but the film belongs to Christian McKay and his depiction of a pre-War of the Worlds Orson Welles.
McKay does a spectacular job of nailing the booming voice, quivering jowls, quick-tempered impatience and larger-than-life presence of Welles. Via his relationship with Samuels, the film allows us a glimpse of what working with this charismatic and flawed figure must have been like. Hide