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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>
Zak Penn and Werner Herzog perform the DVD commentary while still in character, trading insults frequently, scolding each other and referring to a fake legal agreement that presumably would have been reached after the events take of the film take place. Their argument gets so heated that Herzog 'leaves' and the commentary stops and then restarts, this time hosted by Penn and producer Jana Augsberger. See more »
Yes, I named the boat Discovery 4. That was my idea. I thought it sounded cool. It was very important to me to build a credible expedition, that's why I had the jumpsuits, that's why I had that sonar. I wanted people to think and to feel like this was an authentic expedition to find the Loch Ness Monster. Jacques Cousteau didn't go out in a boat called, you know, the Tweety Bird. You know, it had some cool name, I don't know what it was, but I'm sure it was cool. And... Discovery 4. You know, ...
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Clever, Amusing, Con Job That Leaves You Wondering
Like a big budget Blair Witch Project this is a clever and amusing con job that shows the manipulative power of the documentary but as the film becomes more and more preposterous and the con becomes more obvious the joke goes a bit flat.
Lately the documentary genre has been messed with royally with blending opinion and personal agenda with fact mainly for entertainment value ala Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, but this one side steps in yet another direction and seems to me to be satirizing the whole mocumentary process which would make it a joke within a joke and a true original. It's not entirely clear if this is the intent of the film, which only adds to the enigma. I like to think it is.
It is refreshing to see a legend like Herzog willing to poke fun at his own obsessive reputation and it's his charismatic presence that carries the film.
I don't know when the mocumentary first showed up in film but one of the first I recall that's well worth checking out if you like this sort of thing is Woody Allen's great from 1983: Zelig.
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