2020-12-23T18:29:46+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Collective Director/ Alexander Nanau Watched on Amazon Rating 3.5/5   If you happen to watch the trailer of Collective before watching the film, you’ll think you’re in store for a breathless political thriller with nothing but the fate of democracy at stake, an edge-of-your-seat experience replete with double-crosses, deep throats, and diabolical villains, set to a pounding score and edited with machine gun pacing. Um, hardly. Collective does indeed feature dark secrets, whistle blowers, villains, corrupt bureaucrats and fearless journalists, but the style of the actual film, if you decide to watch it, is much more sedate and quiet and even plodding than you’d expect. Well, more plodding than you’d expect from an American film, but since this film is Romanian, and it revolves around an incident that few people outside Romania will have heard of, and Romanian filmmakers have a way of doggedly adhering to the veracity of their situations and environments with a kind of compulsive miserablism, than the plodding is par for the course. This is not in any way to say the film should be skipped. I respected director Alexander Nanau’s composed and unflappable approach, his attention to accuracy and details and chronology, his total commitment to a direct cinema style of documenting the unfolding events, the absence of music and cliffhanging plot turns and idealized crusaders. But the story–of a hospital cover-up of infected solvents used to treat the burn victims of a horrendous nightclub fire–despite its basis in real tragedy, despite the utter rot of the systems being exposed, is [...]


2020-12-23T17:13:14+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Time Director/ Garrett Bradley Watched on Amazon Rating 3.5/5   Fragments of home video shot over the past twenty years are interspersed throughout this fractured chronicle of a woman named Fox Rich and her relentless campaign to secure the early release of her husband, Rob, from prison. Both he and his wife were convicted of armed robbery when desperation over the loss of their clothing business led them to attempt an ill-fated and illegal self-rescue. She did a few years before her release; he was sentenced to sixty years without the possibility of parole. The film spends surprisingly little time on the details of the crime, and also doesn’t seem to be an all-out manifesto on the criminal justice system. Yes, Fox and her husband are Black, but they aren’t denying they were guilty. Instead, the movie seems to be making the point that once in prison, the efforts made by loved ones to plead, appeal, cajole, and interrogate the bureaucracy of incarceration can be a lonely and frustrating crusade. All Fox wants is for her husband to come home and be a father to the children he was unable to watch grow-up. The children, especially twin boys, are the background characters in this black-and-white film, directed by Garrett Bradley with an eye toward poetic mosaics and screen-engulfing close-ups. The young men show up in the home videos their mother began making when Rob went to jail, and they appear in the contemporary footage as now handsome, studious teens on the cusp of adulthood. Despite their [...]

Go to Top