When: Wednesday, 14 July - Wednesday, 1 September
Where: Various cinemas
How much: $15
There's something to be said for High School Musical. Ok, so it's not one of the greatest films of the last decade, but it did bring us Zac Efron. This young man is a spectacular triple threat — he can sing, he can dance and he truly can act. Thank god for Me and Orson Welles so we could finally see this last talent demonstrated.
The film follows the path of the young Richard Samuels (Efron) as he skips school and gets himself involved in a broadway production by the great director Orson Welles (before his rosebud days). The play is Julius Caesar and the underlying themes of betrayal, tyranny and injustice that Shakespeare injected into his writing, are given new life, reflected in the narrative of this movie. Samuels falls for the girl and ingratiates himself with the cast, however he is let down by his naivety of the theatre industry's true selfishness.
Claire Danes puts in an excellent turn as the singularly driven Sonja, and Efron is a delight to watch as his youthful confidence and arrogance are endearing and funny qualities. It's especially nice to see a young actor take on a far meatier role than any that we've previously seen him in, and even more so to see him pull it off.
The show is completely stolen however by the spectacular Christian McKay — a relative unknown whose depiction of Welles is mesmerising. At one minute he's charming and full of love for his cast and crew, and at another he's a terrifying despot ruling all with an iron fist. McKay's Welles has a constant madness simmering just below the surface, waiting for the incentive to have it all boil over.
Set in 1930s New York, this film also has a visual richness that makes it all the more enjoyable. The costumes and settings are beautiful and even Efron's slicked back hair is an attractive period addition.
Though you may see the end coming somewhere towards the beginning, this is a highly enjoyable film with an excellent support cast, witty and fast-paced script and brilliant performances. Well worth a look in.