Saturday, January 18, 2014

[Mini Review] American Movie (1999)

DIRECTED BY: Chris Smith
Mark Borchardt, Mike Schank
RATING: 4.5/5 stars

Aspiring filmmaker Mark Borchardt attempts to finance his dream project of a feature length film (Northwestern) by completing a low budget black and white horror short film that he began making years ago but later abandoned.

I love documentaries, especially ones about film. It's a genre that I feel is unappreciated at times. American Movie is everything I love about it. Widely regarded as ‘the bible’ for aspiring filmmakers, the film follows Mark Borchardt's constant struggles to simply get things done in relation to his filmmaking. It's a very personally look inside this man's life. I think Mark has a very poetic quality about him in the way he talks, particularly about film. His passion for the art is infectious and we see that rub off on some of the people around him; whilst others are unconvinced that Mark will ever achieved anything. I love this film for its candid look at working class American. At times it's a heartbreaking slice of reality. It's pretty obvious that Mark has quite a few personal problems which are reflected in his work. He is his own worst enemy which is the main reason his projects and ideas rarely eventuate.
All gloominess aside American Movie is very entertaining and often incredibly funny. We meet a lot a different people in this film, may of whom are pretty colour full characters, Mike Schank especially who is Mark’s best friend. For a moment I honestly thought he might have been a scripted character because he comes across as too unusual to be a real person.

I couldn't help but laugh when I read that Northwestern is still incomplete but at the same time I felt a little sad; maybe one day.  American Movie is a must see documentary for film loves in general. It's another gem from 1999, one of my favourite years in cinema.

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