What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this ... See full summary »
Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the ... See full summary »
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
A documentary on the chaotic production of 'Werner Herzog' 's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »
THE WHITE DIAMOND is a film about the daring adventure of exploring rainforest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr.Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip ... See full summary »
What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this unconventional documentary directed by Erroll Morris. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (Referring to the robot specialist's strange philosophy of robot design structure, not Erroll Morris's documentary techniques!) interplays, overlaps, and interrelates these four separate and highly specialized documentary subjects in order to in truth study all of humanity, raising questions about the future of mankind. Written by
Matthew F. Griffin
What was Errol Morris thinking when he made Gates of Heaven, hailed by Roger Ebert as one of the ten best films of all time? He set out to make a documentary about an animal cemetery, and emerged with the greatest example of serendipitous film-making ever shot. Who did he think would want to watch this film? My guess is that he didn't care. Unfortunately, with the present film he cared very, very much. Not so much WHO his audience would be, but THAT he had an audience in the first place. Is this such a bad thing? Doesn't one have to eat? Not Errol Morris. Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control is a slickly packaged documentary about four eccentric men from four diverse walks of life: lion taming, robot building, mole rat researching, and topiary gardening. The point of the film is that genius/madness comes in many different flavors, and that these walks of life are really not so diverse after all. Morris heavy-handedly drives this point home by continuously juxtaposing commentary on mole rat behavior over images of a trapeze artist in the circus. Such precious, Reggioesque devices are opprobrium for a director who is at his best when he simply points a camera at the right people at the right time and lets fate spin itself out extemporaneously. Now on to specifics. Besides the disingenuous conceit mentioned above, there are two aspects of the film that soured me (as opposed to left me indifferent) to it: 1) Two of the four characters (the mole rat researcher and especially the poseur robot builder) are unbearably annoying, and, more importantly, 2) Caleb Sampson's faux-carnival music bleats incessantly throughout the film, denying the viewer any contemplative breathing space, which would probably have improved the film somewhat (two of the greatest film scores of all time are from The French Connection and Gates of Heaven--and neither of these films has a score).
I selfishly hope that Morris will eventually return to his roots: spending less time in post-production, making sleek, art-house music videos, and more time on site, conducting "irrelevant" interviews with old ladies on rickety porches who vent about their ungrateful, no-good sons.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?