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20 December 2007 (USA)  »

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Enjoyable but the subject deserves more time, patience and contributions
15 October 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having just watched the Last Word documentary I came to Odyssey thinking that it would be more of the same – plenty of substance but partially masked by a frantic style and delivery that does detract from it and unfortunately I was partially right. The area I was wrong about was in regards how much it detracts. At the start the hyper style did grate but then later we got to contributions that almost suited this approach. What actually helped covered the problems in delivery though was just how interesting the film was. OK so we open on a very fast run through the content of seasons one through five which offered little but then we have more reflections, opinions and memories from the cast and crew – the vast majority of which are interesting and honest.

I liked the gags about the Emmys (West counters the idea that the show is well written because, if it were, there would have been Emmys), the parts people originally auditioned for, the favourite scenes, favourite characters etc. These are all good and ultimately what we have is a pretty good little film for fans. However I can't judge it on that because what the film claims to be doing is reviewing the odyssey of The Wire and to try and do this in thirty minutes is not only a big ask but also a bit of a disservice. OK so in terms of running time the frantic editing helps but I would rather have had a significantly longer film where the contributions are not edited right down to the end of the last word, like we're watching an episode of 24 or something. I would also have liked more contributions from the cast – Elba, Harris, the entire docks cast of season 2 are absent with only Gilliard really representing the former cast members. It would have been a lot better if they had taken their time, covered the same ground but given more time to each contribution and also gotten more of the main actors from previous seasons involved.

Still a good documentary for fans and gets better as it goes but it is hard to shake the feeling that The Wire deserves better than this, as enjoyable as it is.


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