Worth a look as a character study of a documentary filmmaker falling to pieces but even this element isn't that well done
Lecturer and struggling filmmaker Max Carlish set out to make a documentary about pop bad boy Pete Doherty; their relationship started on stage but ended up in court. Carlish got involved with Doherty after seeing an article about him and seeing him as a way to redeem himself as a filmmaker. At the same time Doherty was trying to get his career back on track with his band Babyshambles. However as Doherty slips further into drugs, trouble with the law and the world of tabloid headlines, Carlish starts to go from being a documentary maker to being more of an obsessed fan and stalker.
Not being a tabloid reader (Times man myself) I don't know that much about the shenanigans that he gets up to, the drugs, the relationship with Moss and so on but I decided to give this film a go anyway. However it doesn't actually matter that much because this film is actually about Carlish and his relationship with Doherty. It is not an easy watch because it is very clear that nobody here is actually that stable. Doherty can at least hide behind the drugs as his excuse but Carlish's ramblings to the camera and constant focus on himself and his importance shows that he is either a massive w*nker or that he is not mentally well. Personally I think it is a mix of the two and it is a strange watch that makes for an interesting hour as the lines are blurred and Carlish rapidly moves away from being a detached documentary maker to being something much more frantic and unhinged.
This doesn't get director Dunn off the hook though because I did wonder how much value he added by interviewing Carlish and then using lots of his footage to make a film about him. Dunn's film may be a fascinating watch but it is little to do with him and it does feel like he has frantically tried to get on the back of Doherty's tabloid status and share the financial benefits with Carlish. What would have been better would have been more in the way of interest, interpretation and an examination of the role of a filmmaker generally. He does try a little bit of this towards the end but it is not that well done and instead he lets the "car-crash TV" element of his film carry us along for the majority.
Despite this the film is still an OK watch simply because it is fascinating even if it is hardly an enriching documentary. Dunn should have done so much more with it than he did and is not as immune from criticism as he thinks because he is a bit exploitative himself. Worth a look as a character study of a documentary filmmaker falling to pieces but even this element isn't that well done.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?