as deep as any comic from the man/myth/legend/piece-of-consciousness
Let it be known, this will probably take more than one viewing to really all sink in. But, as with the majority of Alan Moore's best work (Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Killing Joke, LXG) you'll want to revisit it since it is, for lack of a better expression, consciousness-expanding. The documentary here focuses half-and-half in measure. Half the time it's on Moore's early life growing up in real working-class conditions in Northampton (i.e. didn't know what middle-class even was till he was in his teens), and then his odd-jobs that he had to get due to his horrible education reputation, leading up to his career in comics. The other half focuses at first on Moore's dealings in "Magic", which he says can actually be attributable to anything in terms of artistic creation, going back thousands of years, and on consciousness and understanding the world we live in and how we're apart of it, not to mention Gods and worship and even the nature of apocalypse and what "world" even means.
It's deep stuff the director is dealing with, and he accompanies Moore's words and monologues (he's the only one on camera so there's nobody to say anything different, adulatory or contradictory or otherwise) with shots and scenes of the working-class conditions Moore grew up in, 'dramatic' recreations of some bits from Watchmen and V For Vendetta (frankly, the films, despite what Moore would tell you, do it better), and just random shots of people walking around and psychedelic things like fractals and mind-bending *extreme* close-up cinematography. It's all very pleasant to look at, though it's Moore who commands the attention from the director, with his very shaggy beard and long hair and eerie rings on every finger making him on the surface to look like he lives in a dark castle eating twigs and berries. In reality, he's probably one of the smartest, or at least most engaging people, you'll come across.
Even when one doesn't fully get sucked into what Moore is talking about, it's never less than fascinating. It's about us. What we think and feel. The points he raises about religion- polytheism and the nature of spirituality in the modern world and the dangers of monotheism- are one thing that marks up some awesome food-for-thought. But then there's questions Moore raises about human beings in relation to themselves, self-consciousness, and how some decide to not even acknowledge it or even obliterate it. Furthermore into the realm of physics and time itself. It is quite a lot to take in, especially when one considers that for the first half of the film, more or less, we're mostly in a conventional realm of Moore's work being discussed. But even then that comes back around to his topics of discussion: Lost Girls, especially, on the nature of violence and sex, and conspiracy theorists revealing themselves far more uncomfortable with the actual chaos of the world than they'd ever want to admit.
Sure, some of the Shaman stuff is deranged and takes some getting used to understanding or accepting (though it's quite funny to hear Moore talk about "becoming a magician" as opposed to facing a mid-life crisis, which it might well have been). Yet you get your limited bang for buck with this doc/philosophy/career retrospective. It's about ideas, and art, and that the apocalypse may ultimately be crap depending on your point of view. What's not to get excited about?
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