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20 August 2006 (USA)  »

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Interesting documentary but ironically it falls down by being too frantic in the delivery
22 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

One of the extras on the season 4 box set, this documentary is interesting but ultimately frustrating by its style of delivery. The documentary looks at various aspects of The Wire such as the root of characters, the background of reality given it by the creators, the city of Baltimore, the local dialect and so on. In covering this material it instantly made me interested as a Wire fan – partly because there have been too few (if any) good documentaries surrounding this awesome series but also because I love hearing other people talk around (and talk up) the series because it happens so infrequently.

The cast, creators and real people from Baltimore all contribute and it makes for a really interesting discussion that informs on the work done by season four. Of course, in itself season four is so near-perfect that the documentary doesn't have a lot of room to expand but regardless it still reinforces what the season already shows us. The problem with the documentary is, ironically, things that one could never accuse the series itself of. The first thing that hits you is that it has constantly music in the background, something the series prides itself on rarely having. This is an annoyance but it contributes to the bigger failing, which is the frantic pace of delivery.

No contribution lasts very long and even then they comprise several edits. The effect is to make the film feel rushed and, while it does cover a lot of ground, it doesn't do it in so much detail that it is cramming it into the thirty minute run time. It is a real shame because really these subjects need to be done over a longer period and with the patience to let people talk around the subjects. Unfortunately the style of delivery makes the film feel more like a promo piece rather than the more comprehensive approach that the subject and the series deserves.

Interesting enough but hopefully the season 5 DVD will produce a documentary that the series deserves because this is too frantic for its own good.


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