Al Pacino’s re-imagining of Oscar Wilde’s classic bible tale Salomé is innovative, powerful and an incredible watch’ bringing theatre to the home Salomé is an extension of a growing trend of broadcasting stage shows into cinemas but with the unique addition of extra ‘film only’ footage to aid the transition from stage to DVD.
Salomé tells the tale of fictional events between King Herod (Al Pacino), Salomé (Princess of Judea), Jokanaan/John The Baptist (Kevin Anderson), Herodias (Roxanne Hart) and the palace guards as they play out their characters journey to insanity, driven by power, love and lust culminating in a disturbing end. Presented as a combination of stage performances and studio additions Salomé is low key in terms of set, budget and production but has a story filled with intrigue, lust and betrayal that will keep you hooked for the full 90 minutes.
Salome’s real strength is in the power of the performances. Jessica Chastain is a standout star. A bold choice by Al Pacino to cast a relatively unknown star paid off dividends. Her performance as Salomé, Princess of Judea, portraying of a character twisted by unrequited love whilst having to endure the endless lust of King Herod is astounding, and for me, one of the cinematic performances of 2014. Al Pacino gives an equally great performance as King Herod and is supported by a spectacular cast whose delivery and timing are par excellence helping to make Salomé a feature worth watching.
Whilst the notion of a play on film may put off some viewers, if you can push past this and the period script you’ll find something that won’t but be able to brag about watching to anyone who’ll listen.
**Salomé also comes with an accompanying documentary Wild Salome. Whilst the insight into rehearsals and filming adds something to the overall project and mystery of the play-to-cinema formula; it becomes a self-aggrandising mess that even includes the ‘infallible’ word of literary expert Bono. If you’re interested in making of documentary or a fan of Pacino it’s worth watching, but otherwise it’s something I’d avoid.
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