Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and moves to Pacific Beach. There, he undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading ... See full summary »

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John Kitchin ...
Slomo
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Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and moves to Pacific Beach. There, he undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading his lab coat for a pair of rollerblades and his IRA for a taste of divinity. Written by Anonymous

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2013 (USA)  »

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Interesting as a look at a local character of note, but not more than that
1 June 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The same day I watched Slomo, I had earlier watched a short film called Twenty Eight Feet, about a man who decided he would live on a boat, make enough money to get by and enjoy that "getting by" as his choice. Slomo is similar in some ways because it is about a man who was very successful in his chosen field but, as health issues came, he realized that he didn't want to just "be" a job and then die, so he decided to do something different. Since then Dr John Kitchin has been better known as "Slomo" in his new home on Pacific Beach, where he spends much of his time gliding in fluid movement down the boardwalk on roller blades.

Since watching the film I have read some daft comments about how inspirational this film is, how great the "message" is and, being honest, I have to laugh at such comments because this documentary is really just a curio over a local character who I guess people who have been there may have seen. Indeed we open the film with some theories about who Slomo is and why he does what he does and in this regard it is an approach that reminded me of an older short film called The Edgware Walker, which also does the same with a local oddball known to everyone. Here though the reality is a story of a man deciding to do what he wants with his life and not let the path of the many dictate his, since he really has no value from it anymore.

In a way the contrast with Twenty Eight Feet is good because in that film I appreciated that the subject was open about his choices, how he affords them and the sacrifices in terms of relationships he makes in order to live this life. Here we really don't get much of that. We get the true story behind the man, but from there it is shots of him being happy and talking about why it makes him happy. To some this will seem inspirational, but to me what was interesting was what the film stayed silent on. We more or less know why Slomo can live this way – because his career has made him very wealthy, so while he shuns his former life, the truth is that without it he would be unlikely to be able to live the one he now has; I guess this is not stated so clearly since it would significantly undercut the "do what you want" message, even though it is true.

The second thing that it really side steps is anything in life outside of what Kitchin has decided he wants to do. A son and an ex is mentioned in the background but never again in the context of the present tense; it made me wonder if the son had a connection of if he was ditched because he didn't fit into the "do what you want" life. Perhaps it is unfair to assume this, but neither Kitchin or the film make any reference to relationships or the needs of others, so it is hard not to conclude thus. Yet again this sort of undercuts the message and tone of the film so, assuming it is the case, I can see why it did this.

There is enough color and charm in the film and in Kitchin to make the film work as a look at an interesting character, but the suggestion that there is something of inspiration or aspiration here really didn't wash with me.


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