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The German film director Werner Herzog sets out to the Scottish Highlands to make a documentary, "Enigma of Loch Ness", exploding the myth of the Loch Ness Monster. Meanwhile, another documentary film crew is making a film about Werner Herzog, and we see the production of "Enigma" from their point of view. Shooting on a rented boat, tensions begin to rise as director Herzog and his producer, Zak Penn, find themselves at cross-purposes on the black surface of Loch Ness. Things get very edgy when the film crew starts seeing shapes in the murky water. Written by
Martin Lewison <email@example.com>
When asked by an audience member after a viewing at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2004, whether any Nessies were harmed during the making of the film, director Zak Penn indicated that he could not guarantee that they were not. See more »
I don't want to make some sort of blanket comment about the people of Scotland, but the fact that they picked on Michael Karnow, of all people, I think is pretty low. I mean, this is a guy who wouldn't hurt a fly. Literally. I mean, he literally has a thing about flies. He will not hurt flies.
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This has many things I seek: A faux documentary after the manner of "Lost Silver." Werner Herzog, who is sort of a touchstone for those interested in merged stylization and the documentary-like magic of discovered behavior.
It is a film about a film about a film about a film. It is an examination of truth and fiction merged. Sounds perfect, right?
Some elements are deft. Herzog really is great. I already saw him in a similar real-fiction role in a Harmony Korrine project (similar in spirit to this one). So he really wasn't a surprise. But one gets the impression that he really can live in merged real and fictional worlds. I suppose all great artists can do that.
But the whole thing falls flat, largely I think because the writer went the whole distance with himself. He is the writer/director and he plays that as well. But he doesn't have the oscillating realities that Herzog projects and that is required here. Let's call it the Woody Allen effect: a great idea that the writer had that the same person ruins in the form of an actor.
I have maintained for long that actors cannot understand movies. The interests of filmmakers and actors conflict. But it is also true that asking a filmmaker like Penn to be an actor is just as hard. And just as disappointing.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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