Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Droning, biased and...BORING.
I guess enough has been said about Cousins' dreadful narration (if you'd like listening to a sine wave in an endless loop, however, then this will be right up your alley), but the major flaw of this documentary is that it commits the cardinal sin of filmmaking: it's boring. God, it's boring. It might be dull enough to make some film buffs want to abandon their hobby forever. Shouldn't a documentary about film be...fun? Brian Doan stated in his critique of the 15-part, 17-hour film, "Why, when faced with the prospect of watching yet another episode in order to finish this piece, did I sigh and trudge up to my office, as if headed into certain doom?" I couldn't have said it any better. Still, I also watched the entire series, figuring (after 5 or 6 episodes in), I've already lost several hours of my life I'll never get back, why not just finish myself off?! Seriously, though, I was hopeful that something interesting or exciting would happen in this seemingly interminable epic.
The production quality is also a bit pedestrian, with many insipid and irrelevant insert shots that pad the documentary between actual movie clips. One could forgive Cousins' that, I guess, due to a low budget. But, since when in filmmaking has a low budget stifled creativity? Then there's Cousins' own apparent biases (OK we get it! You LOVE African movies and HATE Hollywood musicals, comedies and dramas!) and I won't even begin to get into his political bias.
Too many influential films are never given a mention (though, I understand this documentary was cut down to a fraction of it's original length!), while other important films (like Fritz Lang's "Metropolis") are mentioned- but barely. Cousins' also makes some peculiar comments in the film. For instance, he (several times) refers to specific characters as "Catholic" (presumably using the non-secular definition of the word) or "Protestant." First of all, how does he know this? Secondly, even though he's from Northern Ireland, did he not foresee that people in less denominationally-obsessed parts of the world, would find that strange? He also makes several flubs that clearly reveal his lack of familiarity with American culture and its relationship to and reflection in American filmmaking.
There are some bright spots, of course. Cousins' penchant for African, Iranian, Asian and Eastern European films will certainly revive interest in them and introduce them to audiences who probably would have never heard of them otherwise. The array of interviews with actors and insiders was impressive (seeing Claudia Cardinale was a particular treat!) But, unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros in this lengthy "love letter to the movies." With the TCM airing bringing this to so many people, this was such a missed opportunity, that it's a shame. So is the 17 hours of my life I'll never get back.