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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
Hiding within this movie are four fairly interesting mini-documentaries about four men, each with a vision - perhaps even an obsession - about one particular facet of life. The common thread uniting them is that each of the four is fascinated by the ways in which animals, men, plants, and even machines evolve, learn, and grow. A recurring theme is training or control.
Unfortunately, these four interesting stories are chopped up and interwoven in ways that often seem arbitrary and pointless. Plus, about 25% of the movie is made up of clips from other, mostly bad, movies... and the soundtrack music is often intrusive and annoying. So I'm mystified why a number of critics thought this was the best documentary of 1997. Maybe there were just a lot of bad documentaries that year!
Worth watching if you have nothing else to do, but nowhere near great.
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