But there’s one principle reason to see “Wilde Salome,” and the clue is in the second part of the title. Pacino (and, we assume, Parsons) can claim bragging rights on Jessica Chastain, who plays the title role in the production; she was cast in the stage version way back in 2006, long before her current omnipresence, when all she had to her name were a handful of TV credits on the likes of “E.R.” and
“Veronica Mars.” Not only does Chastain (only 25 at time of filming) exude star quality and a serious-minded work ethic in the behind-the-scenes footage, but she’s also sensationally, jaw-droppingly good as Salome. It’s a far cry from her ethereal turn in “The Tree of Life,” the actress moving effortlessly between the innocent, the seductress and the monster. It’s impossible to take your eyes off her when she’s on screen, and it firmly reinforces what’s become more and more clear over the course of 2011; that she’s a truly precious talent, and one that will only go on to do more and more impressive work over the years.
It remains to be seen if the film gets even the kind of limited release that “Looking for Richard” received—it’s a much more niche piece of work, and being much less well realized, is unlikely to attract even much of an arthouse crowd. But even if it ends up airing on PBS years from now, it’s worth checking out, if only for the acting fireworks. [C]