When independent film-maker Jonathan Berman invites his boyhood friend to come live with him after Paul's release from prison for bank-robbery, they both get more than they expect. We get a... See full summary »

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When independent film-maker Jonathan Berman invites his boyhood friend to come live with him after Paul's release from prison for bank-robbery, they both get more than they expect. We get a revealing look at friendship and coping with mental illness. Written by <havan_ironoak@bigfoot.com>

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25 January 1999 (USA)  »

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Touching autobiographical documentary examining mental illness and its effect on a friendships.
9 November 2013 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Berman is a young film-maker with writer's block, when he hears from his old friend Paul, now in jail for a series of non-violent bank robberies. Berman decides to explore their childhood friendship and re-connect with Paul (soon to be released from prison), and to film it as a documentary project.

What emerges is a complex relationship between these two old friends. Paul is charming and charismatic, but also, as slowly becomes increasingly clear to both filmmaker Baerman and the audience, delusional, bi-polar, very difficult to actually help, and just a little bit creepy. Berman is willing to acknowledge the fine edge between helping Paul and exploiting him for the film, his (understandably) confused feelings about his old friend, and his being at a loss at how to help him settle into the real world.

Short, (maybe even too short) at 52 minutes, I was always interested, and wanted to know even more about both men.

One framing device that is happenstance, but adds a real layer of emotion are clips from the super 8 movies Berman made as a kid, playing cops and robbers with Paul, and seeing echoes of the man he will actually become in those films.

An honest and worthy exploration of both the subject and the film-maker himself.


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