By the age of 30, Orson Welles was a titan of the stage, of radio and had created what is recognized as one of the greatest films of all time: Citizen Kane.
The movie Me and Orson Welles is set in 1937. It starts a week before his Mercury Theater is to open Caesar set in fascist Italy. Welles is only 22 years old and already a towering figure of theater and radio. A 17-year old kid Richard, played by Zac Efron, finds himself swept up in to the production. The film, through Richard, shows us Orson Welles the only way he was known to everyone. As a many you hated, despised, but simultaneously sought approval and ultimately respected. Christopher McKay is a revelation as Welles, impersonating the man and his myth.
The movie, with its ’30s New York sets, young love, stage backdrop and choice of background music feels a lot like a Woody Allen movie starring Orson Welles. Think of Bullets over Broadway or The Purple Rose of Cairo, with less comedy and more megalomaniac Orson.
The movie is by Richard Linklater, who in his close-to-20 year career has barely taken a wrong step. If you’re unfamiliar with his oeuvre, go see Dazed and Confused or Before Sunrise or Tape or Waking Life. Or all of them, and then follow it up with School of Rock and A Scanner Darkly. The guy is a genius, and once again, does not disappoint.