Casting About

"Weak"

Casting About Review


Casting sessions and tryouts have always held an inordinate amount of interest for some people, from HBO's Unscripted to A Chorus Line they've seemingly provided a dramatic manner in which to watch hardworking thespians being subjected to ruthless, no-holds-barred criticism and snap judgments that can have lasting impact on their careers; like reality TV, only more so. It may be, though, that people aren't all that terribly interested in the whole process. Maybe it's just that entertainment types, having spent a good part of their lives going through such soul-rending encounters, assume that they would be a font of nearly automatic drama: who wouldn't watch that?

Such an assumption, sadly, may have been the inspiration behind the lifeless new documentary Casting About. Filmmaker Barry J. Hershey was casting actresses in 2000 for a feature film (that apparently has not yet been made), and after setting up in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and Los Angeles, had met some 350 of them and collected some 70 hours of audition footage. Those hundreds of monologues, brief chats, and abrupt confessions were later woven together into this film, as a means of creating a non-linear document about the casting process. In theory, this could make for some astounding cinema, ripe with dramatic tension and naked expression; in practice, it's a wretched snooze.

Primary among Casting About's problems is the very basic fact that the actresses here -- at very least the ones which Hershey has chosen to focus on -- are simply not very good. Even the bad ones don't have the potential for camp entertainment. It's simply an amateur parade of well-meaning and very decent-seeming young women who don't seem able (at least in the context of what we're shown) to produce even a short scene of true emotional honesty. Without that base of dramaturgical fascination to fall back on, there's little left for the film to do but spin its wheels.

With no overarching narration or scene-setting (we never know what city we're in, but for the accents, and almost never what play the actress took their monologue from), Casting About coasts along in a particularly arrhythmic fashion. Hershey wisely makes it unclear where the extemporaneous dialogue ends and the acting begins, leading to some occasional moments of frisson like with the actress who launches into an account of how she'd been victim of a crime years before and today was the date of her victimizer's sentencing. It seems real enough, as she pulls herself together enough to then go into her monologue, but Hershey leaves moments like this unexplained.

For the most part, though, the film has little to recommend it, being stuffed to the gills with rather poorly-performed monologues, all of it culminating in nothing. A more skillfully produced film could have turned this all into a comment on the creative process, a means of limning the vast amounts of tear-stained effort goes into trying out for something that, often as not, never comes to fruition anyway. It would have been nice to have seen that film.



Casting About

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th May 2007

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Barry J. Hershey

Producer: Lewis Wheeler

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.